February Minutes





7PM- Call to Order

705PM – Update from Richmond Police, Beat 7

710PM – Welcome and Introductions

715PM – ADUs & In-Law Units: Lina Velasco, Planning Manager & Roberta Feliciano, Planner II, Richmond Planning Department

8 pm Officer Roderick, Richmond Police and neighbor: getting City to respond to speeding

8:30 PM – Community Announcements


Executive Committee Members Present:

President, Seren Pendleton-Knoll, had to leave early

Vice-President, Jim Hanson

Secretary, Nina Smith

Treasurer, Rock Brown


Presenters’ contact information:

Officer J. Wentz # 1605, jwentz@richmondpd.net (510-621-1212)

Roberta Feliciano, roberta_feliciano@ci.richmond.ca.us (510)620-6662)

Officer Roderick wroderick@richmondpd.net 510-967-7581


Jim led the meeting as Seren had a schedule conflict.


Jim started the meetings with introductions. Very good turnout tonight.


  1. Police Officer Report

Officer Jason Wentz of the Richmond Police department introduced himself. He was recently assigned to the Beat 7 area. Previously he worked in the Detective Unit so he is new to the street and to this Beat. He asked that if residents have questions, comments or concerns we contact him via email as the Department’s voice mail system is antiquated.   He works M-Thu swing shift: 1:30 pm – 1:30 am. It’s a very large beat. Tonight 2 officers are working this beat: Officer Lal is working with him.

Crime stats for area of Richmond Heights Neighborhood Heights: very little crime in this area. Jan 1 to today: 9 vehicle burglaries in the Planet Fitness parking lot. Very common everywhere. Put stuff in your trunk and/or don’t leave it in the car. Vehicle burglaries happen every time of day. Attempted burglary of the Grocery Outlet on San Pablo Avenue but the burgler left without taking anything. There was a home burglary in the morning on San Pablo Avenue – entered through a window. Stolen license plates: make sure when you get in your car that your license plates are there. 13 vehicle thefts, mostly along San Pablo Avenue. 3 stolen cars recovered near Garvin and Esmond. No violent crime in this time period.

Richmond as a whole: 5 homicides in last year related to homeless encampments. The Police Department has a homeless outreach team. Traditional car ignition is easier for car thieves than the keyless keys. The officer advocates getting a video surveillance system to prevent home burglary. Cameras are a great deterrent and valuable for catching perpetrators. Dealing with drivers doing donuts is hard because it happens so fast: try to get the license plate and call the police. Question as to the legality of razor wire on fences. Officer not sure but can look it up.   Email him. Call them about vacant abandoned properties, businesses that look suspicious such as the place behind Williams, which used to have aggressive dogs in the yard, but that place has been sold. Permit required for alarm system. If it’s a false alarm call in right away or there will be a fine.

CALTRANS has a site to report homeless encampments.


  1. Roberta Feliciano, roberta_feliciano@ci.richmond.ca.us (510)620-6662), Richmond Planning Department Planner II, gave a presentation on the new rules governing the construction or remodeling of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) (such as an in-law unit, apartment over a garage, or a new structure in back yard) under the new state law (AB229, SB1069 effective January 2017) and Richmond’s applicable ordinance, RMC 15.04.610.020. Previous to the passage of this new state law there were stringent requirements governing the construction or remodeling of accessory dwelling units on a single-family home parcel. These requirements pertained to required parking, set-backs, etc. and an applicant for such a permit had to go through the full design review process with public notice and hearings. The State legislature passed the new law in an attempt to provide more housing, prioritizing housing needs over concerns about parking congestion. Since January 2017 an applicant for a permit to construct or remodel an ACU which meets the requirements of the State and City rules only has to go through a ministerial process consisting of paying the permitting fees and submitting plans demonstrating compliance with the rules.   The state law mandates that municipalities and local jurisdictions allow ADUs complying with the restrictions set out in the law. Richmond has added additional restrictions.


Combining the state and City rules, if a proposed ADU meets the following requirements* the City must issue a permit upon payment of the applicable permit fees:

  • In residential zoning districts;
  • Only one ADU allowed on each lot containing a single-family residence;
  • ADUs may be attached or detached;
  • Minimum floor area 150 feet, maximum 800 square feet or 75% of the primary unit living area, whichever is less;
  • Setbacks:
    • Newly constructed detached ADUs must be separated by at least 10 feet from the primary residence with a minimum setback of 5 feet on the side and rear yards. Converted structures are exempt from these setback requirements.
    • Newly constructed attached ADUs must comply with the setbacks for the underlying zoning district;



*this list of requirements is copied from the Planning Department handout

  • Parking: One additional off-street parking space is required and can be provided as tandem parking on an existing driveway or in a setback area. However, no additional parking shall be required if the ADU is located:
    • Within ½ mile of public transit;
    • In a historic district;
    • As part of an existing primary residence or an existing accessory structure;
    • In an area where on-street parking permits are required, but not offered to the occupant of the ADU; or
    • Within one block of a car-share pick-up/drop-off location;
  • Floor Plan: ADUs must have their own kitchen and bathroom and contain no more than 2 bedrooms. ADUs may be designed as studios;
  • Height Allowance: The maximum height allowed for detached ADUs is 14 feet. Any addition exceeding 15 feet and up to 22 feet, such as a second story, is subject to design review;
  • Conversion of existing structures: A detached accessory structure legally in existence prior to 2017 and located outside of the front yard setback may be converted into an ADU regardless of setback or height non-conformity if it otherwise meets the ADU requirements.
  • Deed Restriction: A deed restriction must be recorded stating that the ADU cannot be sold separately or modified without prior approval.


Roberta explained the results of this relaxation of the rules: in 2016 3 ADUs were built in the City of Richmond, in 2017, 23 and in 2018, 40. The rules applicable in unincorporated Richmond are subject to the State standards and whatever additional standards the County may choose to enact. This presentation only addressed the rules applicable within the City of Richmond.


In response to questions, Roberta clarified a few additional points:

  • The ADU does not have to have separate utility meters;
  • Homeowners can have one 120 square foot storage shed in addition to 1 ADU;
  • A junior ADU is an internal conversion, already within the envelope of the home and cannot be more than 500 square feet;
  • Permitting costs: the Planning permit is $1300; the building permits depend on the value of the job;
  • Reassessment for purposes of property taxes is the responsibility of the County Tax Assessor’s office;
  • A driveway must be 18 to 20 feet to allow parking on the driveway; cars cannot extend into the sidewalk;
  • Set-in garage: If it’s a conversion there is no setback requirement; if new, it must be 5 feet from back, 5 feet from side and 10 feet from house;
  • The Design Review Board can allow exemptions;
  • A sewer lateral required for new bathroom, kitchen;
  • A multifamily structure such as a duplex does have to meet the parking requirements


There was a discussion about the parking consequences of these new rules.

Roberta can be contacted to clarify these or other issues.



  1. Officer Roderick, wroderick@richmondpd.net 510-967-7581, asked to address our Neighborhood Council about what he has done to address the speeding problem on his street (Amador between Solano and McBryde) and offered his contact information if any neighbors want his advice about how to work with the City to get a proactive solution to traffic and speeding problems on our streets. He worked with Dane Rogers, of the Richmond Engineering Department, (dane_rogers@ci.richmond.ca.us)(510-307-8091), and explained how he petitioned to have speed bumps put in on his street. He talked with all the neighbors. The solution to the problem is ultimately up to the City engineer. They could decide to put in a stop sign or speed bumps or whatever other solutions they felt were appropriate. He shared his experience and conclusion that the current staff person with this responsibility is easier to work with than the previous one.


  1. Community Announcements
  • Attendance today was much higher than it has been in recent years and the group was asked how they found out about tonight’s meeting. Some said they hadn’t known about our Council until they got the recent postcard. Others saw the posts on Next Door. A lot of folks came because they were specifically interested in the topic being presented.
  • Next month, March 4, 2019, 7 pm, there will be a presentation from the Richmond Rent Control Board at the same location, the Open Door United Methodist Church, 6226 Arlington Blvd., Richmond.