Tag Archives: mini dorms

New Overlay Zone To Curb “Mini Dorms” Goes To Planning

After a two-year moratorium, city is proposing special zone for neighborhoods near UCR that would limit bedroom space compared with common areas.

One loophole to revisit before approval is the definition for the minimum size of a bedroom. Building Code says 70 square feet. Consensus among the working group was 100 square feet.

The City Attorney is tasked with coming up with legally defensible findings for the increase in size. Read Alicia Robinson’s story in the Press Enterprise.

Riverside Planning Department Still Issuing Permits to Cut Up UNA Homes

Check out item number two from the weekly permit update from the City of Riverside. And they tell us they can’t issue a moratorium in spite of violating their own zoning ordinances. WTF?



Beer Can Trashed

From Letitia Pepper:

Here’s a question: if the applicant claims in the application that the three rooms created from one room are for a den, a bedroom and an office — and instead all three rooms thus created are then used as bedrooms — will the City do anything about that?

Will it sue the owner? I think the answer is obvious: no, it won’t.
Here’s something else. The City Attorney says that the City MUST issue these permits (which we all know are to add bedrooms) under the State Building Code.

However, the City didn’t adopt ALL the State Building Code, and it also amended some of what it did adopt. (See Riverside Municipal Code section 16.08.0404.)

This section, 16.08.0404, provides that “2. A permit may be withheld or denied if the Building Official finds there are existing on site violations of the provisions of Chapter 16.04 through 16.20 or of any other ordinance of the City, including any and all provisions of this code and including without limitation the provisions of the zoning regulations.” (Emphasis added.)
The City’s permitted land uses provide, in section 19.150.020 (a), Article V, “Permitted Uses Table,” that “Student Housing, Including Fraternities, Sororities and Dormitories,” are NOT permitted uses in R-1, and that they can’t even be permitted with a conditional use permit. Article V also provides that “boardinghouses,” places that rent rooms to five or more unrelated people, are also not permitted, even with a conditional use permit, in R-1.
Patricia, I don’t think we can expect the City to sue these folks, because I think this is all part of the City and UCR’s long range plan to turn our single family residential area into more dense, multi-storey dwellings to benefit UCR, which brings money into the pockets of the people who run the City from behind the scenes.
If I remember correctly, in the past, one or more of the two-storey homes on Glenhill became “frat houses” — they even had a frat sign on display outside. One of them had, in the trash when they all left, street signs they’d stolen and then abandoned.
I think that the agenda at the next UNA meeting should include a discussion of taking group action, as the UNA, to send warning letters to property owners who’ve been pulling these permits, and about the possibility of taking legal action against such owners if they are violating existing laws.
And now a word about the stupid room rental permit ordinance from Mike Gardner: do people realize that there is nothing to stop the City from giving people permits to rent more than four rooms in our area? The ordinance contains no limits, and if it did, it can easily be amended. Our area doesn’t allow boarding houses — but if the City gives a landlord a permit to rent to more than four people, it can essentially by-pass the “no boarding house” zoning law and we couldn’t do anything about it.
Right now, the existing law says that no more than four unrelated people can share a house. That law, IF IT WERE BEING ENFORCED, would deal with density and parking problems. The noise and criminal laws, IF THEY WERE BEING ENFORCED, would take care of the parties, drunk driving, public indecency, etc. about which we’ve complained.
So why is it that the City Council now wants to “help” us with a new room rental permit ordinance? (It’s probably unconstitutional, too: why is it okay for a non-occupying owner to rent an entire house to four unrelated people without getting a permit, but it’s not okay for an occupying property owner to rent three rooms in a house without getting a permit?) When something doesn’t make sense, it’s usually a sign that there’s a hidden agenda at work. So what’s the “hidden” agenda here?
I think there are several. First, it will let the City make money. Second, it will let the City claim that it is keeping track of housing demands (by permit requests), which it can then use to justify changing our area’s zoning to allow for more dense housing. And that will allow it to convert our single family residential area into one of its trendy “mixed use” zones and into a “hip” suburb of the future (like that Dos Lagos developer guy was trying to push by funding some program at UCR about the suburbs of the future).

The City of Riverside Launches First Program of the Business Ready Riverside Initiative

Register for August 15, 2013 training to learn how to save time and money in the plan check process.

As a part of its Business Ready Riverside Initiative, the City of Riverside has enhanced its customer services even more with the implementation of a new online system for submitting plans to the City and completing the plan review process. As a ‘Business Ready’ City, Riverside understands the challenges of today’s business and home owners and as such, strives to deliver programs that increase efficiencies and save money for the City’s customers.

The first of several components of Business Ready Riverside is the implementation of electronic plan review software, ePlan Review. It is designed to save businesses and homeowners valuable time and money during the plan check process and enables more streamlined routing and more expeditious processing of plans.  There is no need to buy any software, ePlan Review accepts over 250 file types. (Read more…)

Neighbors Out En Masse For June Mini-Dorm Meeting

A Full House At June's Meeting on Mini Dorms

Nearly seventy neighbors attended Thursday’s neighborhood meeting to discuss the proliferation of  “mini-dorms”. The City of Riverside’s Building and Safety Department is issuing permits as a matter of course for absentee landlords to chop up rooms to yield more bedrooms to rent to students.

A steering committee was formed and they are having their first meeting Monday, June 17th, at 6:30 p.m. at Patty Verwiel’s house at 745 Glenhill Dr.

With the momentum from Thursday’s meeting, the next steps for making a public impact at City Council meetings are being planned.  Stay tuned for further details and calls to action.

Our UNET Team Thanks to Councilman Andy Melendrez, Jeff Kraus and Vinny (fraternity V.P.) for their attendance and support.

Thanks to Patty, Tina and Jill for showing us there’s power in being related to our neighbors.

See you Monday night.

What You Don’t Know About The Proposed Rental Ordinance

This could be filed under good intentions, but if we’ve learned anything from past good intentions, it pays to look beyond the immediate problem and examine the impacts of both action and inaction before we proceed.   Some words to the wise courtesy of Letitia Pepper:

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” Groucho Marx

“Riverside City politics is the art of having a hidden agenda and using an allegedly GOOD public reason to accomplish it, instead of actually fixing anything.” Letitia Pepper

     Yes, the City of Riverside is once again going to “help” us, and once again, God help us and save us from those who know what’s best for us.

Remember how the City was going to “fix” Islander Park for us — when what it was REALLY trying to do was to help UCR do its flood control work OFF-CAMPUS? That so-called park improvement project was really all the City and UCR’s hidden agenda to create flood detention basins in OUR PARK, and to shift the resulting dirt, mess, and months of traffic congestion onto Watkins Drive — and off campus streets.

Well, once again the City is going to “fix” our student problems with a proposed new ordinance.  Its hidden agenda, however, is to create another revenue source — a new tax on renters and property owners — and to reduce UCR’s housing competition. (Do you know why UCR students don’t want to live in campus-owned housing? Go on line and see how much it costs students to live in student housing and you’ll see why . . . and while some students want to live off campus so they can party, others want to live off campus to save money and study.  Really.)

The student problem this “fix” is allegedly going to fix, as usual with these fake fixes, won’t fix the problem. In fact, it will actually lead to the further deterioration of our residential neighborhood.  (The facts that the City isn’t telling you that show why this is going to make things worse are below.)

Our student problems are caused not by all students — but by specific students who throw noisy parties, who do rude things in public, and who park illegally. What do all these annoying things have in common? They are all activities for which the guilty party can be cited and fined.

But does Code Enforcement respond to our complaints?  Sometimes — but not regularly. Is that a problem the City can fix? Yes, of course; Code Enforcement employees get job reviews, too. So why doesn’t the City do that? Because if Code Enforcement was handling these calls, then the City wouldn’t have unhappy residents calling for another solution, any solution, just do something!  And then the City can use those complaints to justify doing what it wants: creating a new revenue source and a new tax on renters and property owners.

Okay, but how could a permit requirement on people who rent rooms possibly make things deteriorate more?  Well,. this is where those facts that the City doesn’t want to talk about come in.

Did you know that the City of Riverside is voluntarily allowing out-of-town investors

to buy single family homes near UCR and turn them into “mini dorms”? Which the investors

are then renting out by the room?

Yes, the City is doing this. The City is giving people construction permits to close up fireplaces and convert living rooms into two or so bedrooms and maybe another bath! And when some of us complained to the Planning Commission and our council members, they said they’d “look into it,” or “hold a workshop.”  They certainly didn’t take any proactive steps, like saying, “We need a moratorium on these permits BEFORE we study this and before we issue any more!  We need to stop this before the residential character of the area is seriously impaired!”  Did anyone say this?  No, of course not.

Think about it.  Once the City creates a permit program and requires landlords to pay for a permit for each bedroom the investor rents out, the City will have more financial incentive to continue to let investors convert single family homes into mini dorms and rent out rooms to a LOT more students than could have lived in a normal, single family home.

If you didn’t know about the ongoing conversion of single family homes to mini dorms, this permit idea might have sounded okay. But once you know the whole story, the City’s planned “fix” appears as what it really is: part of a hidden agenda to benefit the City and others, but not our neighborhood.  It’s the old Islander Park “fix,” the old hidden agenda all over again.

Please come to the University Neighborhood Association meeting this Thursday, June 13, 6:30 p.m., 3431 Mt. Vernon Avenue, to discuss this and other systemic problems in our area.