The state legislature has empowered owners of single-family lots to build accessory dwelling units (ADU) by passing laws that essentially eliminating the local prerogatives on zoning.
Most headlines have gone to AB 68, which was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Oct 9.
AB 68 reduces barriers to ADU approval and construction, with an eye to increasing production of low-cost, energy-efficient units and adding to California’s affordable housing supply, according to an Assembly floor analysis.
So, it’s fair to say, the state is firmly behind a policy of encouraging ADU construction.
The actual mechanics of AB 68 amend existing housing law to allow two ADUs on lots with single family homes, and multiple structures on lots with multi-family dwellings.
It prohibits local jurisdictions from minimum lot size criteria and from requiring replacement parking when parking is demolished in the creation of an ADU, so its impact reaches beyond a homeowner’s lot and into the public space of the street.
Requiring a setback for an ADU that is built within an existing structure or in the same footprint as an existing structure, and require more than a four-foot setback for all other ADUs are now, also verboten.
Three other bills addressing the granny shack phenomenon also garnered Newsom’s imprimatur.
AB 881, by Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D), restricts the ability of local governments to issue permits. It requires the streamlining of ADU approval processes when built in existing garages. It also eliminates a local jurisdiction’s prerogative to require owner-occupancy for five years before engaging in ADU construction.
SB 13, by Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D), creates a tiered fee structure intended to more equitably charge ADUs based on their size and location. It lowers the application approval time frame, creates a process whereby unpermitted ADUs can be brought up to code, and enhances an enforcement mechanism so that the state can be sure local governments are toeing the state line on ADUs.
AB 671, by Glendale Assemblywoman Laura Friedman’s (D), obligates local governments to encourage affordable ADU rentals in their housing plans. It requires the state to develop a list of state grants and financial incentives for affordable ADUs.
And the above are but a few of the detail-rich mandates handed down from the state to California’s municipalities.