Meeting Date:

February 24, 2005





David A. Berger,




General Manager

Line Item No.:




Prepared By:


Gabriela Ayala

Cost Estimate:


General Counsel Approval:  N/A

Committee Recommendation:  N/A

CEQA Compliance:  N/A


SUMMARY:      Mr. Adam Serrano is appealing a decision of the District staff denying a water permit for a second bathroom using the District’s “special fixture unit accounting.”  Mr. Serrano’s application was denied because it included more than two bathrooms, and approval of a permit that used the special fixture unit accounting that resulted in more than two bathrooms on a site would be contrary to District Rule 24-C.  District Rule 24-C, amended by Ordinance No. 114 (Exhibit 11-A), is voluntary and limits a person taking advantage of the special fixture unit accounting to no more than two bathrooms on a site.    In addition, the rule upholds the two bathroom restriction “unless the second bathroom is permitted by debit to a jurisdiction’s water allocation.”  Mr. Serrano states in his appeal that the two bathroom restriction of Rule 24-C should not apply to his application, as he will be removing extra water fixtures (a utility sink and a vegetable sink) to offset the half bath.  Mr. Serrano’s application for appeal is attached as (Exhibit 11-B). 


Ordinance No. 114 was adopted in May 2004 and was effective July 1, 2004.  Three public hearings were held on the proposed changes, including the two bathroom restriction, before the ordinance was adopted in May 2004.  The ordinance was also published in the local newspaper, posted on the District’s website, and posted in the windows at the District office before it was adopted.  Mr. Serrano comments in his appeal that the District’s inspection occurred three weeks before the rule changed and that his plans were already being drawn up and designed.  Had Mr. Serrano submitted his application within those three weeks following the inspection, a permit would have been issued for his proposed project.  However, the rule changed before his application was submitted to the District on November 1, 2004, and all water permit applications are subject to the Rules and Regulations that are in effect at the time the complete application is received. 


Finally, Mr. Serrano indicates on his application that he will need to have his plans changed if his appeal is denied.  While he will need to amend the plans to show a total of two bathrooms if he desires to add a bathroom using the special fixture unit accounting, Mr. Serrano has the option of permitting his entire project (i.e. addition of one-and-one-half bathrooms), by installing ultra low consumption appliances and using the onsite credit from removal of the utility sink, vegetable sink, and a second showerhead to offset the new water fixtures.  District staff also encourages Mr. Serrano to repair his leaky faucets to avoid water waste and high water bills.


RECOMMENDATION:   Staff recommends that the Board deny Mr. Serrano’s appeal and adopt the Findings of Denial attached as (Exhibit 11-C). 


BACKGROUND:  In April 2001, the District Board adopted Ordinance No. 98, the “Second Bathroom” ordinance, to allow the addition of a second bathroom to an existing single-family residential dwelling with only one bathroom without debiting the water allocation of the jurisdiction in which the residence was located.  Specifically, Ordinance No. 98 modified District Rule 24-C, Residential Expansions, and created a “special fixture unit accounting” protocol that limited the water appliances that could be installed in a new second bathroom to a single water closet, a single standard tub or shower stall, or a single standard tub-shower combination, and one or two washbasins without debiting a jurisdiction’s water allocation for installation of the specified water fixtures.  Ordinance No. 98 was adopted based on the assumption that a second bathroom in a home is primarily for convenience and would not significantly increase water use in the residence.  


In May 2004, the District Board adopted Ordinance No. 114 to further modify District Rule 24-C and clarify the number of fixtures allowed by use of the special fixture unit accounting protocol.  Ordinance No. 114 added the condition that use of the special fixture unit accounting protocol is voluntary and that any property owner who chooses to install a second bathroom under this special fixture unit accounting protocol is limited to two bathrooms, unless the second bathroom is permitted by debit to a jurisdiction’s water allocation.  This condition was added to preclude property owners from using the “Second Bathroom” ordinance to add multiple bathrooms to their residences.  If an owner of a single-family residence with one bathroom wishes to add more than a second bathroom, the owner must comply with the standard fixture unit accounting protocol and obtain water from the jurisdiction’s allocation or establish on-site water credits for the second bathroom before additional bathrooms can be added.  Ordinance No. 114 went into effect on July 1, 2004.



11-A    Ordinance No. 114

11-B    Application for Appeal

11-C    Findings of Denial