Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance Update

In September 2016, Image descriptionGovernor Brown signed two legislative acts that comprised the new law governing accessory dwelling units (ADUs), AB 2299 and SB 1069, both of which came into effect on January 1, 2017. The new statute amended various sections of Government Code section 65852.2 which regulates accessory dwelling units (formerly called second dwelling units) and invalidates a local agency’s existing accessory dwelling unit ordinance if it does not comply with all requirements of the newly adopted state standards. The intent of the new law is to reduce the regulatory, physical and financial barriers to constructing accessory dwelling units and encourage construction of smaller, often more affordable housing options, for seniors, young adults, and others who are affected by the housing shortage in California.

On March 14, 2017, the Board of Supervisors adopted an Interim Ordinance (Ordinance No. 4507) to regulate accessory dwelling units in non-coastal areas as an Urgency Measure (in effect for 45 days), pursuant to Government Code section 65858. A summary of the new provisions in the ADU Interim Ordinance is provided in the link below.

Image descriptionOn April 18, 2017, the Board of Supervisors adopted an extension to the ADU Interim Ordinance (Ordinance No. 4509). The ADU Interim Ordinance Extension carried over the same provisions that were adopted in Ordinance 4507. The ADU Interim Ordinance Extension will be in effect for 10 months and 15 days (until March 13, 2018).

During a September 19, 2017 meeting, the Board of Supervisors provided direction to Planning Division staff regarding preparing permanent ADU regulations for both the non-coastal and coastal zones. With direction provided by the Supervisors, Planning staff are currently drafting permanent ADU provisions for the Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance that will regulate ADUs in the non-coastal zone after the expiration of the ADU Interim Ordinance. Staff are also drafting permanent ADU regulations for the Coastal Zoning Ordinance. Until new, permanent ADU provisions are adopted for the Coastal Zoning Ordinance, the existing Coastal Zoning Ordinance ADU standards remain in effect.

The public is invited to comment on forthcoming draft ADU Ordinance language at future Municipal Advisory Council meetings. After the Municipal Advisory Council meetings, a proposed permanent ADU Ordinance will be available for review, comment, and decision at a Planning Commission Hearing to be held January 11, 2018, and at a subsequent Board of Supervisors Hearing February 27, 2018. The public will have opportunities to make comments at the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors hearings. A timeline of the public meetings and hearings for the draft and proposed ADU Ordinances is provided below:

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Any questions or comments regarding the Interim ADU Ordinance or the Permanent ADU Ordinance Update can be directed to the project planner, Charles Anthony, by email at