Lago Los Serranos townhome developmen

Flags waving over new housing developments aren’t as common as they were in the housing heyday of the 1990s and 2000s when colorful pennants were everywhere. Lago Los Serranos townhome development, shown in photo, is nearing completion of its third phase. The 95-unit project is on eight acres at the southwest corner of Ramona Avenue and Bird Farm Road.

 

The year 2020 saw a slight decrease in the number of building permits, total revenue, and number of inspections in the City of Chino Hills due to COVID.

Building official Winston Ward announced construction activity numbers in an end-of-year report indicating that the total number of issued permits fell by 9 percent from 2019 and total revenue fell by approximately 10 percent, with permit revenue down by 9 percent and plan check revenue down by 10 percent.

The number of inspections fell by 20 percent, he said.

“The Building Division adjusted staffing earlier in the year during the first month of the pandemic in anticipation of the decrease in inspection demand,” he said.

Mr. Ward said 34 new housing units were built in 2020 compared to 26 units in 2019.

“This number is way below our 10-year average of 225 dwelling units constructed per year,” he said.

The square footage of new commercial construction was 134,199 square feet in 2020, up from 57,782 square feet in 2019, according to his report.

City growing old

Mr. Ward said as the city approaches buildout, the type of permits being issued is changing.

During the first two decades of the city’s history, new residential construction dominated the type of building permits issued.

As more rooftops were added during the 1990s and 2000s, commercial construction followed, and the type of permits became more balanced between new residential permits, new commercial permits, and commercial tenant improvement permits.

“As the city matures, the type of building permits issued is again changing to reflect the need to serve existing residential and commercial stock,” he said. 

Permits for room additions, bathroom and kitchen remodels, re-roofs, window changeouts, water heater, and air conditioning replacements are taking the place of new residential and commercial construction, he said.

“Chino Hills residents are also embracing new technology in the form of rooftop photovoltaic systems, battery backup systems to store electrical power, and charging stations to power electric vehicles,” he said.

In 2020, the city issued 530 permits for these types of uses. Housing trends are expected to change over the next decade as the city fulfills state mandates bringing in 3,720 more units, with 2,202 of those high-density multi-family housing.

Granny flats

The year 2020 also saw changes in state law to encourage additional affordable housing in the form of accessory dwelling units, known as ADUs, formerly called “granny flats” or “in-law suites.”

In 2020, seven ADUs were constructed, approximately 12 are currently under construction, and approximately 11 are in plan check, he said.

The city council on Tuesday approved the second reading of a new ADU ordinance that will go into effect March 11.

Mr. Ward said the city informed all ADU applicants that a new ordinance was in the works that might relax the standards for their projects.

Some chose to wait for the ordinance and others chose to receive approvals under the existing requirements.

Mr. Ward said the ordinance will not be retroactive but if an application was approved prior to the adoption of the ordinance, applicants may submit revised plans.

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