Sec. 25-21-85. Reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities.

(a) Purpose. The purpose of this section is to provide a formal procedure for persons with disabilities seeking equal access to housing under the Federal Fair Housing Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (the Acts) to request reasonable accommodation in the application of the city’s land use regulations and to establish relevant criteria to be used when considering such requests.
(b) Applicability. A request for reasonable accommodation may be made by any person with a disability, their representative, or any entity, when the application of a zoning law or other land use regulation, policy, or practice acts as a barrier to fair housing opportunities. A person with a disability is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that limits or substantially limits one or more major life activities, anyone who is regarded as having such impairment or anyone who has record of such impairment. This section is intended to apply to those persons who are defined as disabled under the acts.
A request for reasonable accommodation may include a modification or exception to the rules, standards, and practices for the site, development, and use of housing-related facilities that would eliminate regulatory barriers and provide a person with a disability equal opportunity to housing of their choice. This section is intended to provide for minor structural modifications and/or regulatory exceptions. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to require the city to waive or reduce development or building fees associated with the granting of a reasonable accommodation request. Requests for reasonable accommodation shall be made in the manner prescribed within this section.
(c) Application Requirements. Requests for reasonable accommodation shall be submitted in the form of a letter to the director of community development and shall contain the following information:
(1) The applicant’s name, address and telephone number;
(2) Address of the property for which the request is being made;
(3) The current actual use of the property;
(4) The basis for the claim that the individual is considered disabled under the acts;
(5) The zoning code provision, regulation, or policy from which reasonable accommodation is being requested;
(6) Why the reasonable accommodation is necessary to make the specific property accessible to the individual.
If the project for which the request for reasonable accommodation is being made also requires some other discretionary approval (including, but not limited to, a conditional use permit, design review, general plan amendment, zoning change, annexation, etc.), then the applicant shall file the information required by this section together for concurrent review with the application for discretionary approval.
No application fee shall apply to a request for reasonable accommodation (unless the request is being made concurrently with an application for some other discretionary approval, in which case the applicant shall pay only the required application fee for that discretionary approval).
(d) Review Authority and Procedure. Requests for reasonable accommodation shall be reviewed by the community development director (director), or their designee, if no discretionary approval is sought other than the request for reasonable accommodation. The director shall make a written determination within forty-five days and either grant, grant with modifications, or deny a request for reasonable accommodation in accordance with subsection (e) of this section.
Requests for reasonable accommodation submitted for concurrent review with another discretionary land use application shall be reviewed by the authority reviewing the discretionary land use application. The written determination on whether to grant or deny the request for reasonable accommodation shall be made by the authority responsible for reviewing the discretionary land use application in compliance with the applicable review procedure for the discretionary review. The written determination to grant or deny the request for reasonable modification shall be made in accordance with subsection (e) of this section.
(e) Criteria for Findings and Decision. The written decision to grant or deny a request for reasonable accommodation will be consistent with the acts and shall be based on consideration of the following factors:
(1) Whether the housing, which is the subject of the request, will be used by a person with a disability as defined under the acts;
(2) Whether the request for reasonable accommodation is necessary to make specific housing available to a person with a disability as defined under the acts;
(3) Whether the requested reasonable accommodation would impose an undue financial or administrative burden on the city;
(4) Whether the requested reasonable accommodation would require a fundamental alteration in the nature of a city program or law, including but not limited to land use and zoning;
(5) Potential impact on surrounding uses;
(6) Physical attributes of the property and structures;
(7) Alternative reasonable accommodations which may provide an equivalent level of benefit.
(f) Conditions of Approval. In granting a request for reasonable accommodation, the reviewing authority may impose any conditions approval deemed reasonable and necessary to ensure that the reasonable accommodation would comply with the findings required by subsection (e) of this section. Conditions may be imposed to ensure that any removable structures or physical design features that are constructed or installed in association with the reasonable accommodation be removed once those structures or physical design features are unnecessary to provide access to the dwelling unit for the current occupants. (Amended during the March 2009 supplement.)