Property owners beware, the place you buy may not be legal
However, Wednesday, May 2, the Susanville City Council ruled that was not, in fact, the case.
While second dwelling units are permitted in residential zoning areas, they must meet certain conditions.For instance, the code requires the unit must be on a lot containing at least 6,000 square feet.
Smith’s property measures in at 5,440 square feet.
In a report to the city council, City Attorney Peter Talia paraphrased the report from the planning commission and said, “The project was not consistent with the general plan in the zoning ordinance. The continuance of the current use of the second residence would be detrimental to the health, safety, comfort and general welfare of the neighborhood and injurious to the property and improvements of the neighborhood.”
During the time allotted for public comment, Jim McEachern requested the city council consider the zoning laws at the time the second dwelling was constructed. He said, “It was obviously different from what you’re going by today.” He also said of the residence on Pardee, “It’s a nice and clean property and it provides some security in that alleyway.”
Speaking against the dwelling was Delight Callegari. “Besides me, a lot of people in the neighborhood feel it shouldn’t be approved,” she said.
Smith, who is disabled, was not able to be present at the meeting. However, she filed an appeal through Eugene Chittock, attorney at law.
The council decided at the time the second dwelling was converted, it was done illegally, even according to the zoning laws at that time. It also appeared no permits were filed. They voted to deny the appeal to allow the second dwelling.
Council Member Joseph Franco said, “It’s unfortunate that someone buys a property with the idea there are two legal structures on the premises. There’s a lesson to be learned here. If you’re going to buy this type of property, be sure to consult with the city to make sure it has been permitted properly. I think that’s something we need to take away from this.”
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