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DUBLIN — The Dublin City Council voted unanimously during a Nov. 3 meeting to expand zoning for accessory dwelling units (ADU), once called granny flats.

Dublin has previously allowed separate ADUs in single-family home districts for years, without the need to obtain city permission from a building administrator or go through a public hearing process. The new ordinance now will extend those same rights into multifamily residential districts and retail commercial zones.

There is also a new junior accessory dwelling unit (JADU) category, which limits that dwelling to 500 square feet or less. The JADU category does not merit its own parking space, dictates the new ordinance.

In the past, an ADU smaller than 750 square feet has not had to pay any impact fees; that will continue. However, any ADU at 750 square feet or above will pay an impact fee of varying increments depending on its size.

Adding square footage will also boost the assessed valuation of the property. City Manager Linda Smith explained that as soon as the county assessor’s office gets the new information, the property’s total assessed value will be computed anew.

The new ordinance follows laws passed by the legislature last year. The policies have been in effect since Jan. 1, but the state has been giving cities time to adjust their zoning ordinances accordingly.

The legislature, in search of ways to deliver affordable housing, decided to stimulate the building of more ADUs, formerly known as second dwelling units. ADUs can accommodate family members, students, seniors, in-home health care providers, people with handicaps and others, below market prices in existing neighborhoods.

Summing up the council’s action last week, Mayor David Haubert said, “I don’t foresee hundreds of these, but I foresee a good number.”

City Elevates BLM ‘Garden Signs’ to Government Speech

Dublin has found a novel way to grant the wishes of Tri-Valley for Black Lives (TVfBL) and the Dublin High School Black Student Union, so that no hate speech advocates can find a way to crowd in on the display and take the bloom off a positive message.

The council voted unanimously to make the sign display a one-week, curated art exhibit, and confine it only to government-sponsored speech.

City Attorney John Bakker said that by melding the sign garden with the city’s officially declared stance of inclusion for all ethnicities and races, and with equal rights for all, it’s legitimate to call the sign garden and a speech-making event associated with it “government speech.”

With the government speech designation, no one else can claim First Amendment free speech rights to compete against the displayed signs, said Bakker.

The council chose Mayor David Haubert as the curator of the exhibit, because he speaks for all of the council, and he gladly accepted.

In a strong stand for inclusion, Dublin has flown the LGBTQ flag from its flagpole, which is located next to federal and state flagpoles at the Civic Center.

The art show is expected to be up by Sunday, Nov. 15, said Dublin city spokeswoman Shari Jackman. At 2 p.m. on that day, TVfBL will be gathering at the site “to show their support for our residents’ art,” said Jackman.