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Nearly 15 upset and angry Mission Canyon residents urged the Santa Barbara City Council to revoke the two granny flat permits City Hall issued to their Arriba Way neighbor Gregg Patronyk, whom they accused of lying on his permit application forms to the city.
According to the neighbors, Patronyk stated he and his mother would occupy the properties on which new granny flats — a k a Accessory Dwelling Units or ADUs — were built. That, they claimed, has never happened. They complained that one of the proposed granny flats would loom 30 feet high on steeply sloped terrain. The amount of grading done, they charged, was far in excess of what the application indicated and what city permits allow without additional review.
The neighbors not only sued Patronyk in court but also obtained a temporary restraining order to force him to stop construction. In addition, the City Attorney’s office has filed a 14-count criminal indictment against Patronyk, mostly for doing construction work without a permit and often in direct violation of stop-work orders. That criminal case is scheduled for arraignment on February 10.
Patronyk was not present. His attorney, Russell Brown, stated that Patronyk adamantly denies having done anything wrong. The bad blood between Patronyk and his neighbors has been festering a long time, and they’ve become regular visitors at City Council meetings. This week’s showing, however, was the most concerted and forceful.
Under the terms of a temporary emergency granny-flat ordinance adopted by the council in December, no granny flats could be permitted in the neighborhood because it’s located in the urban-front-country interface zone. With its steep and windy roads, the area is deemed a high-fire-risk zone. Those rules, however, did not apply when Patronyk obtained his permits. Given that City Hall is on the hook for more than $4 million in legal costs after denying another property owner the right to develop a bluff-top property on the Mesa, there may not be an appetite for cutting-edge litigation. Likewise, the city’s new ordinance is a temporary stopgap in the face of new state laws that effectively strip local governments of most rights to restrict the development of new granny flats.