Jan 20 2020

How Do Other Small Cities Respond to Changing ADU Mandates from the State?

Few small California cities decide to create such lengthy new ADU ordinances as Piedmont’s 112 page opus.  Nevertheless, their brief updates retain public notice to neighbors, contain requirements that are sensitive to the privacy challenges of squeezing in additional people in close quarters, etc.

San Marino, CA has adopted a 14 page ordinance expressing compliance with AB 68, AB 587, AB 881, and SB 13.   An early statement in the ordinance is:

“The City shall not approve an application for an ADU unless the ADU satisfies all of the standards provided in the ordinance.”

Among San Marino’s requirements for a complete application prior to obtaining an ADU/JADU building permit: a recorded deed restriction, rental period of no less than 90 days,  letters of service availability for sewer and water, utility services may not be separate from the primary residence, tree removal permit, grading permit, a 10 foot fire lane within 150 feet of the ADU and a minimum fire flow of 1000 gallons per minute.

Read the whole ordinance here.

San Carlos, CA is in the process of updating its ADU ordinance and is recommending several interesting requirements:

– Prohibit all balconies and second-story decks on ADUs on top of detached garages; prohibit roof decks above accessory structures to reduce privacy impacts

– Require opaque windows when facing immediately adjacent side and rear neighbors.

– Detached ADUs shall not occupy more than 50% of the required rear yard area.

Read the report here.

Mill Valley, CA is also preparing to update its ADU ordinance and is considering several of these requirements:

Additional Design Standards:

  • No internal connections to primary residence; 
  • A closet required for every bedroom space (defined in the draft ordinance);
  • The primary residence must comply with parking standards (2 off-street parking spaces and 1 guest space when on-street parking not available); and
  • At least 1 parking space required for the ADU.

Additional Requirements and Deed Restrictions:

  • Require the ADU to be rented to an “Affordable Household” (Moderate, low or very low income affordability levels, as defined in the Draft Ordinance), or to an adult immediate family member (defined in the Draft Ordinance).
  • Require annual owner verification of renting the ADU space, including submittal of the rental agreement documenting the rent charged, household size, and gross household income.  

Read the report here.

Piedmont City Council’s first consideration of the ADU ordinance will take place on Tuesday, January 21, 2010, 7:30 p.m., City Hall.  See prior PCA reports for further details.


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