California Health and Safety Code Section 17959

17959. (a) No later than December 31, 2003, the department shall consider proposed universal design guidelines for home construction or home modifications which may be submitted by the California Department of Aging, the California Commission on Aging, the Department of Rehabilitation, the office of the State Architect of the Department of General Services, the office of the State Fire Marshal, the California Building Standards Commission, or other state departments. Thereafter, the department, without significantly impacting housing cost and affordability, shall, in consultation with these agencies, develop guidelines and at least one model ordinance for new construction and home modifications that is consistent with the principles of universal design as promulgated by the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University or other similar design guidelines that enhance the full life cycle use of housing without regard to the physical abilities or disabilities of a home s occupants or guests in order to accommodate a wide range of individual preferences and functional abilities. In developing these guidelines and model ordinances, the department also shall meet with, and solicit information from, individuals and organizations representing individuals and entities with interests in construction, local governments, the health and welfare of senior citizens and persons with disabilities, architects, and others with expertise in these design and living issues. The department shall ensure that at least three meetings subject to the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act (Article 9 (commencing with Section 11120) of Chapter 1 of Part 1 of Division 3 of the Government Code) shall occur, that shall include opportunities for government agencies, individuals, and organizations identified in this subdivision to participate and comment on proposed guidelines or draft model ordinances.

(b) (1) In addition to the authority granted by Sections 17958.5 and 18941.5, and for the purposes of this section, a city, county, or city and county may, by ordinance, make changes or modifications in addition to or in excess of the requirements contained in the California Building Standards Code adopted pursuant to Sections 17922 and 18928 if the city, county, or city and county makes a finding that the changes and modifications are reasonably necessary and are substantially the same as the guidelines or model ordinances adopted pursuant to subdivision (a). In no case shall the changes or modifications be less restrictive than the requirements published in the California Building Standards Code.

(2) A city, county, or city and county adopting an ordinance pursuant to this subdivision shall file a copy of the ordinance and the findings with the department. No such ordinance shall become effective or operative for any purpose until the findings and the ordinance have been filed with the department. The department may review the findings and each ordinance to evaluate their consistency with this subdivision, and shall provide written comments to the adopting entity as to any such evaluation.

(c) (1) In a city, county, or city and county where a universal design ordinance has not been adopted pursuant to subdivision (b), developers of housing for senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and other persons and families are encouraged, but not required, to seek information and assistance from the department and the California Department of Aging regarding the principles of universal design specified in subdivision (a) and consider those principles in their construction.

(2) The department, the California Department of Aging, and any other interested state agency also may, to the extent feasible, disseminate information to interested persons and entities in all parts of the state regarding the principles of universal design and their relationship to new construction and home modifications.

(d) Subdivision (b) shall become operative on January 1, 2005.

(Added by Stats. 2002, Ch. 726, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2003.)

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Last modified: September 9, 2016