Blog

ACCESSORY DWELLING UNITS

This is really earth shattering news!

A short time ago Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1069 and AB 2299, known as the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) State Law, effective January 1, 2017. These laws are a significant change to the State’s ADU regulations. The new laws require that local jurisdictions allow ADUs by-right under certain mandatory development standards, and require that local jurisdictions, if seeking to establish additional regulations, do so via an ordinance facilitating the ministerial creation of ADUs, consistent with state law.

A few important points of this new law:

  • ADUs are allowed on any lot zoned for single-family or multifamily use that contains an existing, single-family dwelling.
  • Detached ADUs are limited to a maximum size of 50% of existing living area, excluding garages.
  • Detached ADUs are considered an “accessory building” and are subject to the setback requirements set forth in the local building code.
  • No setbacks shall be required for an existing garage that is converted to an ADU, including when existing space above or adjacent to a garage is converted to an ADU.
  • For newly constructed ADUs above a garage, setbacks from the side and rear lot lines shall be the lesser of such setbacks as required by the Zoning Code or 5 feet. The ADU can extend beyond the footprint of the garage but maintain a five foot setback.
  • One parking spot per ADU is required and may be provided as tandem parking on an existing driveway and within the required front yard.
  • When a garage, carport or covered parking structure is demolished or ceases to exist, in conjunction with the construction of an Accessory Dwelling Unit, the replacement parking spaces may be located in any configuration on the same lot as the Accessory Dwelling Unit, including, but not limited to uncovered spaces, tandem spaces, in required setback areas or by the use of mechanical automobile parking lifts.
  • Parking is not required for an Accessory Dwelling Unit if:
  1. It is located within one -half mile of public transit stop
  2. It is located in a Historic District
  3. It is part of the existing primary residence or an existing accessory structure
  4. When there is a car share vehicle located within one block of the ADU
  • Unit is not intended for sale but can be rented out.
  • Starting January 1, 2017, applicants may apply for permits for the construction of ADU that meet the State standards above. These standards will remain effective until every City adopts its own ADU Ordinance in compliance with the State Law.
  • ADU can be attached or detached from the existing SFD
  • Maximum increase in floor area does not exceed 1,200 square feet attached to the SFD
  • Total area of a detached ADU does not exceed 1,200 square feet.
I believe this new State Law will spur a brand new construction boom, because it will offer a full second unit on the same lot, unlike the previously constructed “granny unit” without a kitchen and a full bathroom. And renting it out will help with the home owner financially. Of course, it is to be expected that different cities will try to manipulate this law to their liking, but I think the essence cannot be changed much.

Great news for the New Year!!!

Leave a Reply