The City of Los Angeles defaults to the State perscribed standards
Maximum square footage for ADUs: 1,200 if detached, 50% of existing dwelling if attached.
BACKGROUND Second units, now called accessory dwelling units (ADUs), have been identified by the State as providing an important housing option to both potential renters and homeowners. They typically cost less than other types of housing, provide convenient housing for family members, help ease a severe rental housing deficit, maximize limited land resources and existing infrastructure, and assist homeowners with supplemental income. California’s second-unit law was first enacted in 1982 to encourage the creation of second-units while maintaining local control and flexibility. In 2002, the State enacted AB 1866 that updated the second-unit law to require that local governments must allow second units on both single family lots and multi-family lots through a by-right process. In 1985, the City adopted L.A.M.C. 12.23 W.43 and W.44 which permitted second units only in limited circumstances through a conditional use permit process. Due to the 2002 changes in State law the City prepared two memos, one in 2003 and a second one in 2010, that sought to align the City’s practices with the state’s by-right process. The City was recently challenged on the legality of the second of the two memos and in September of this year the City Council directed the City Planning Department to prepare a new Zoning Administrator Interpretation (ZAI) that would supersede the previous memos and provide a by-right pathway for ADUs that adhered to certain standards established in the original LAMC 12.23 W. 43 and W44 ordinance from 1985.
In response to council request, ZAI 2016-4167 was published on November 2, 2016 and will be in effect until December 31, 2016 at which time the new State law will go into effect. Any new ordinance adopted by the City must be consistent with this new State law. Once the City adopts its own new ordinance the City’s ordinance will be the prevailing local regulations for ADUs. In preparing its own ordinance the City, per State law, may modify certain state standards but must adhere to others.