ADUs Get Easier

March 3, 2010

Two City Council actions this week will make building Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs – aka “Granny Flats”) much easier.

Today City Council voted to waive system development charges (SDCs) for ADUs for the next three years. They received testimony that SDCs can be up to 20-25% of the cost of an ADU project.

Tomorrow Council will (I hope) finalize the RICAP 5 project which includes increasing the maximum size of ADUs from 33% of the size main dwelling to up to 75% of the size the main dwelling (an overall maximum of 800 sq. ft. still remains, so this means that smaller houses can now get ADUs).

I hope this will raise the number of ADUs being built annually from about two dozen (at least those that are legally permitted) to a considerably higher number. In my view ADUs are a very good thing because:

  • They create affordable housing
  • They leverage existing urban infrastructure to increase density with very little community impact
  • They help homeowners pay their mortgage

One comment

  1. This is wonderful news. I have long hoped that the as of right construction limitations would be shifted for the very same reasons. I am under the impression that currently a homeowner can build a structure of up to a 200′ sq footprint with an average roof height of 10′. Changing these numbers to 250′ sq and 12′ height would take these from being just outbuildings to being viable cabins.

    As with the change above, such changes would also spread the contracting jobs more to small, local firms.

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