what are zoning law and California zoning laws

What Are Zoning Laws?

Zoning laws are laws that regulate structures and uses of property within designated districts or zones. They regulate and affect things such as the use of land, lot sizes, types of structures permitted, building heights, setbacks, and density (the ratio of land area to improvement area).

These laws are enacted in the exercise of police power and are upheld as long as they may reasonably protect public health, safety, and general welfare of an area. Counties or cities usually enact their own zoning laws and regulations pursuant to an enabling act of a state.

Some Types of Zoning

Aesthetic Zoning

Aesthetic zoning laws regulate architectural and landscaping requirements of an area. These laws can affect new buildings and old buildings. They may affect new buildings by requiring them to be built with a certain style of architecture that matches their surrounding buildings. They may affect older buildings by requiring that they can only be renovated with the same style and cannot be remodeled to alter it’s look in any different way.

Bulk Zoning

Bulk zoning laws are meant to control density and overcrowding. They set limits on uses of land, including sizes of buildings, lot sizes, and amount of open area.

More Information About Zoning Laws

Zoning districts are generally divided into residential use, commercial use and industrial use. These main three uses can then be broken down into other subcategories.

The rights of individuals and property owners must not be violated by Zoning laws. Here are some adaptation requirements of zoning:

  • They must be exercised in a reasonable manner.
  • They must be clear and specific.
  • They must not be discriminatory in any way.
  • They must apply to all properties in a similar manner.
  • They must promote public health, safety, and general welfare.

Some Exceptions to Zoning Laws

Buffer zones separate residential areas from non residential areas. Nonconforming use is an improvement that does not comply with the zoning ordinances because it was constructed prior to the adoption of the zoning laws

Buffer Zones

Buffer zones are areas such as parks, that separate residential areas from non residential areas.

Nonconforming Use

A structure that does not comply with the current zoning laws because it was constructed prior to the adoption of zoning laws and it is not illegal under certain circumstances. If the functionality of a legal nonconforming use building changes, it may become illegal nonconforming use unless the structure becomes upgraded in order to meet current zoning standards.

California Zoning

Most California cities have adopted ordinances that divide their jurisdictions into different types of zones. Specific regulations control each type of zone. Some types of zones include single-family residences, multi-family dwellings, commercial uses, industrial activities, open space or agriculture, and mixed uses.

Local zoning authority derives from the police power in Article XI, Section 7 of the California Constitution. California state law sets minimum standards for zoning regulations of counties or cities in order to supplement the authority. This makes counties and cities be discrete with controlling land use. Additionally, it is worthy of noting that zoning as a police power action is invalid unless it rationally promotes public health, safety, and welfare.

Building Codes

Building codes set the standards for the types of materials to be used for construction, fire prevention standards, electrical wiring, and more.

Most cities use building requirements and standards that are set by the Building Officials Conference of America (BOCA). A building permit from a city clerk is usually required to build or alter a building. The purpose of a building permit is to enforce compliance of building codes and zoning law. This is done by examining the plans, then inspecting the work.


Homeowners Encouraged to Convert Garages Into ADU

Homeowners in populated areas like California are being encouraged to convert their garages into ADUs that can be rented out.

In California, a law called Senate Bill 1069 was passed with the purpose of creating additional affordable living spaces for residents of the state. The law uses the term “Accessory Dwelling Unit” to refer to a secondary housing unit on a single home property.

Why Does This Law Encourage Homeowners to Convert Their Garages?

This law encourages homeowners to convert their garages into ADU in order to create additional affordable housing in the state.

Affordable housing can help the economy as a whole. It can help people save some money on rent while providing while also reducing the amount of homelessness.

This Law Encourages Homeowners by Providing Easily Obtainable Standards for Doing Garage Conversions

SB-1069 encourages people because it purposely removes any previous legal difficulties involved with of converting a garage.

This law provides a set of easily obtainable standards and regulations for garage conversion to legally take place. While at the same time, it prevents cities from requiring additional permits and fees.

Therefore, homeowners in California no longer rely on their city to give them rights for doing conversions. Now, cities can’t make it impossible for property owners to convert their garages.

As long as the set of standards set by SB-1069 are met, a property owner can have a legally converted garage. As a result of the ease involved with legally converting garages into ADU, more and more people are encouraged to take the approach.

The main reason this law was passed was to increase affordable housing space in California because the cost of living is extremely high in the state. For homeowners, it can either provide additional living space, or additional income from renting it out. While at the same time, if it is being rented out, it can be used as an affordable means of housing for a renter.

Professionals near you like All American Builders can go over all the details and potential benefits of a desired project. Our pros specialize in providing garage conversion in Los Angeles, CA and surrounding cities.

Residential swimming pool regulations in Los Angeles and permit information.

Residential Swimming Pool Regulations in Los Angeles

Residential Swimming Pool Regulations in Los Angeles, California

Updated residential swimming pool regulations in Los Angeles. The requirements for the design and construction of swimming pools in Los Angeles are regulated by the following codes and regulations:

  • The State provisions for Public Swimming Pools are found in 2016 California Building Code (CBC) Chapter 31B
  • 2017 Los Angeles Building Code (LABC) Sections 3109, 6109, and 8118 shall apply to all pools

Permanently Installed Residential Outdoor In-Ground Swimming Pool or Spa

LA City Green Building Code Section 4.304.5 requires any permanently installed outdoor in-ground swimming pool or spa for one and two-family dwellings to be equipped with a cover having a manual or power-operated reel system.

General Permit Requirements for Building a Private Pool?

A Combined Building-Mechanical permit is required to be obtained to construct private pools pursuant to LABC Section 107.2.2. However the exception to this requirements is neither building nor combined building-mechanical permits are required for the building the following pools:

  • Swimming, bathing, and wading pools not exceeding 24 inches in depth and not exceeding a surface area of 250 square feet.

mechanical permit shall be obtained for any additional gas or electrical outlets installed for any of the exceptions noted above. Moreover, a grading permit shall be required to obtain for excavations when the pool requires a building permit or combined Building-Mechanical permit and the lot is located in the grading hillside area.

Pool Enclosure Construction Permit Requirement Los Angeles

A separate permit to construct the pool enclosure is required, if any portion of the enclosure is constructed by a masonry contractor with stone or concrete higher than 3.5 feet as per Section 106.2 of LABC.

Pool Building Plan Requirements for City of Los Angeles

Two sets of pool building plans and one set of calculations are required for all pools at the time of permit issuance. Each set of plans must include a fully dimensioned plot plan, showing the location of the pool, pool enclosure, and all accessory equipment and their setbacks to all adjacent buildings, property lines, and slopes. An exception to the pool building plan requirement however is only one set of plans and no calculations are required, when there is a valid City of Los Angeles Standard Plan for the swimming pool on file with the Department. Pool building plans and calculations must be signed and stamped by a California registered engineer or licensed architect.

Zoning Code Requirements Building Pool

All pools shall comply with the use and location requirements of the Zoning Code. Pools shall not be located in any required yard in which fences more than 3½ feet in height are prohibited as outlined in LAMC Section 12.21.C1.g. Residential buildings shall comply with any additional regulation imposed by an ordinance, “Q” or “T” condition or any other zoning regulations. A pool or spa which are higher than 30 inches above ground are not permitted within the required yards for the property.

Glazing Swimming Pool Building Code Requirement in Los Angeles

Glazing in walls of a building and fences used as the barrier for swimming pools and spas shall comply with the requirements set out pursuant to LABC Section 2406 when all of the following conditions are present:

  • The bottom edge of the glazing is less than 60 inches above the pool side of the glazing
  • The glazing is less than 5 feet from swimming pool or spa water’s edge

Private Swimming Pools Single-Family Homes

For private swimming pools located at single-family homes, the construction of a new swimming pool or spa or the remodeling of an existing swimming pool or spa shall be equipped with at least two of the seven drowning prevention safety features as listed under Section 3109.4.4.2 of the LABC.

Moreover, the exception listed under Section 3109.4, for residential swimming pools shall not waive the requirements to provide a pool enclosure complying with Section 3109.4.1 through Section 3109.4.3. All Los Angeles pool builders must comply with all codes and regulations.


Backyard Patio, Pool, and Patio Space Remodel

The Backyard Patio, Poolscape, and Patio Space

The backyard patio is an essential part of the poolscape and defines how you will enjoy your time in and around your patio space. The backyard patio often times can be unique or simple depending on your style. When deciding on where to start on your backyard renovation or patio remodel project, its important that your patio design conforms with or is in accordance with your lifestyle, the style of your swimming pool and your home.

Backyard Patio Remodeling Designs

There are many different backyard patio remodeling designs from transforming your old patio into a garden oasis or perhaps you want to transform your backyard patio into a relaxing environment by adding an infinite pool. Perhaps you want to transform your patio with a more festive environment by adding a fire pit, a outdoor lounge area with a bar. Regardless of the reason(s) for beginning your backyard patio remodeling project, make sure you have fun! Residential patios can be used for a variety of poolside activities, including relaxing, swimming, sun bathing, dining, socializing, and more. Below is a list of backyard patio remodeling ideas

Find the Right Backyard Patio Contractor for your Remodeling Project

The homeowner-contractor relationship will be a determining factor in your project’s success. Residential remodeling projects can sometimes get stressful, therefore, hiring the right contractors or home remodeling company should be at the top of your priority list. Having a list of questions to ask the backyard remodeling contractors can help you evaluate and compare your options.

Identify Potential Challenges Associated with the Renovation Project

Identifying potential challenges prior to commencement of your renovation project is vital. Some general factors to consider when renovating your patio are:

  • Sun/Shade Area
  • Lack of Space
  • Drainage Issues
  • Lack of Privacy
  • Partial Landscape on Steep Slope or Hillside
  • Methods of reducing the intensity of outdoor noise in your yard using plants

As such, addressing potential problems or challenges associated with your patio landscape area will help you create that well-balanced and inviting space that brings you peace of mind rather than headaches.