The California Legislature recently passed new rules making it easier, faster, and presumably less expensive, for people to get permits for new “granny units” otherwise referred to as “accessory dwelling units” (“ADUs”). Senate Bill 1069, which was signed by Governor Brown on September 27, 2016 and takes effect on January 1, 2017, amends Government Code section 65852.2 to require local agencies statewide to amend their zoning ordinances to implement several uniform development requirements and restrictions on ADUs – both substantive and procedural.
The new substantive rules include the following:
- ADUs shall not be required to provide fire sprinklers if they are not required for the primary residence;
- Off-street parking requirements (not more than 1 per ADU or bedroom), may be provided as tandem parking on a driveway;
- No off-street parking requirements may be imposed on ADUs that meet any of the following criteria:
- The ADU is located within one-half mile of public transit.
- The ADU is located within an architecturally and historically significant historic district.
- The ADU is part of the existing primary residence or an existing accessory structure.
- When the local jurisdiction requires on-street parking permits but does not offer them to the occupant of an ADU.
- When there is a car share vehicle located within one block of the ADU.
- In addition, a local agency may reduce or eliminate parking requirements for any ADU located within its jurisdiction;
- ADUs shall not be considered new residential uses for the purposes of calculating local agency connection fees or capacity charges for utilities, including water and sewer service;
- For certain types of ADUs, a local agency shall not require the applicant to install a new or separate utility connection directly between the ADU and the utility or impose a related connection fee or capacity charge;
- The floor area of an attached ADU shall not exceed 50 percent of the existing living area of the existing structure (increased from 30 percent). (Note: Unchanged are the existing restrictions that for attached ADUs the maximum increase in floor area is 1,200 square feet, and that the maximum total floorspace for a detached ADU is 1,200 square feet);
- A local agency may require an applicant to be an owner-occupant and may require that the property not be used for rentals for terms shorter than 30 days.