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City of San Mateo Municipal Code.


(a) Applicant. Any person who requests reasonable accommodation, based on the disability of residents, in the application of a land use or zoning law which may be acting as a barrier to fair housing opportunities, must submit an application. The applicant may be the person with the disability, or his or her representative, or a developer of housing for people with disabilities.

(b) Application. An application shall be filed with the Zoning Administrator, or designee, on a form provided by the Community Development Department. The application shall include all submittal requirements set forth below. No application fee will be charged. If assistance is needed to complete the application, or an alternative format for the application is necessary, the applicant shall contact the Zoning Administrator, or designee, for assistance. The applicant shall provide the following information:

(1) Applicant's name and contact information;

(2) Property address(es) and assessor's parcel number(s);

(3) Property owner(s) name(s) and contact information;

(4) Property owner(s) signature;

(3) Current use of the property;

(4) Basis for the claim, such as a medical certification, that the person on whose behalf the accommodation is sought is disabled;

(5) Explanation of why the reasonable accommodation is necessary to make the specific housing accessible to the person with disabilities;

(6) Plans showing the details of the proposal;

(7) Other relevant information as requested by the Zoning Administrator, or designee, in order to make the required findings. These may include, but are not limited to: an arborist report (for tree removal as per Chapter 27.71 Landscape) and geotechnical report (for substantial grading as per Chapter 23.40 Site Development Code). For low income households (as defined in Health and Safety Code Section 50079.5), the City will fund the cost of any required technical reports so long as doing so would not constitute an "undue financial burden" (as provided in the Federal Regulations for Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act) for the City.

(c) If the project for which the request for reasonable accommodation is being made also requires another discretionary planning approval, the application for reasonable accommodation shall be submitted, reviewed, and noticed with the related planning application(s).

(d) Public Notice. Within 10 days of deeming an application complete, a notice of pending application shall be sent to all property owners adjacent to the subject property. The notice shall include the following information:

(1) Description of reasonable accommodation request;

(2) Statement of the scope of application review permitted by this chapter;

(3) Date by which public comments regarding the application must be submitted for consideration;

(4) Date that the Zoning Administrator, or designee, shall make a determination on the application; and

(5) Appeal rights.

(e) Findings. Any decision on an application under this chapter shall be supported by written findings addressing the criteria set forth below. An application under this chapter for a reasonable accommodation shall be granted if all of the following findings are made:

(1) The housing, which is the subject of the request, will be used by a person with disabilities.

(2) Due to the physical attributes of the subject property or the structures on site, the requested reasonable accommodation is necessary to make the specific housing available to an individual with a disability under the Federal Fair Housing Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.

(3) The requested reasonable accommodation would not create an undue financial or administrative burden for the City.

(4) The requested reasonable accommodation would not require a fundamental alteration in City's land use and zoning ordinances, programs or policies. In making this finding, the decision-making body may consider, but its consideration is not limited to, the following factors:

(i) Whether the proposed changes to the subject property and structures, would adversely impact the health, safety or use of adjacent properties or the City right-of-way.

(ii) Whether any reasonable alternatives have been identified that would provide an equivalent level of benefit without requiring a reasonable accommodation or exception to the City's applicable rules, standards and practices.

(f) Conditions of Approval. In granting a request for reasonable accommodation, the reviewing authority may impose conditions to ensure that the reasonable accommodation complies with the findings required by this chapter. Conditions may also 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 no longer necessary in order to accommodate a person with disabilities. The reviewing authority may require the recordation of the conditions of approval, or its equivalent.

(g) Determination. Within 30 calendar days of deeming an application complete, the Zoning Administrator, or designee, shall approve, conditionally approve, or deny the application.

(h) Expiration of Reasonable Accommodation Planning Permit. The reasonable accommodation planning permit is valid for two years from the date of approval unless a longer period is stated in the planning permit. If the applicant does not begin the work authorized by the permit by the expiration date, the permit shall expire. The applicant may request one two-year extension from the Zoning Administrator, or designee, provided that the written request for the extension is submitted to the Zoning Administrator no less than 60 calendar days prior to the expiration of the planning permit. Requests for extensions that involve another discretionary approval shall comply with Section 27.08.087, Planning Approval Extension.