The California legislature passed a series of new laws that went into effect January 2018 that help promote the creation of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) by clarifying policies and making it easier to move forward with such projects. ADUs come in a variety of forms such as micro-homes, granny flats, backyard cottages and in-law units, and are being promoted as one tool to combat the Bay Area’s gripping housing crisis. The new state legislation empowers cities to make it easier for homeowners to build ADUs on their properties.
“We’ve gone through a series of regulation updates for ADUs. Last year there was an effort to update our ordinance to align with state law,” said Andrew Crabtree, Director of Community Development for the City of Santa Clara.
“In two of California’s major metropolitan areas — Los Angeles and San Francisco — well over three quarters of the total land area is comprised of neighborhoods where single-family homes make up at least 60 percent of the community’s housing stock,” wrote Garcia in a 2017 report. “Across the state, single-family detached units make up 56.4 percent of the overall housing stock. Given their prevalence in the state’s residential land use patterns, increasing the number of single-family homes that have an ADU could contribute meaningfully to California’s housing shortage. To that end, California leaders have shown strong interest in removing barriers to ADU development.”