One Obstacle to ADU Construction in California: The Price of Permits

The price of a permit to build an accessory dwelling units in the city of Thousand Oaks in Southern California is prohibitive—putting the permitting fee in opposition to the stated intent of the city's zoning code and state law.
January 30, 2018, 11am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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It's rare that we post a submission from the letters to the editor section of a newspaper's editorial page, but a letter by Trevor Hughes to the Thousand Oaks Acorn is informative of how California's 2016 law, SB 1069, is playing out at the local level.

According to Hughes, AB 1069 paved the way for Thousand Oaks to adopt accessory dwelling unit criteria—a development that he welcomed and hoped to take advantage of at his home as his parents age. However, Hughes reports he was "shocked and appalled to discover that the permitting fees alone in Thousand Oaks are $13,190 to $26,325." According to Hughes, that explains why only 11 property owners have applied for ADUs in Thousand Oaks.

Hughes is responding to a news article by Becca Whitehall that examines the slow response to the new ADU rules in Thousand Oaks without settling on an explanation for why residents haven't sought more permits.

The Thousand Oaks example is not the first reported case of localities struggling to meet the mandates of the state law. Irvin Dawid reported in December 2017 on the example of Santa Rosa. On the other hand, a recent study by the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley found evidence of rapid growth in ADU permitting in other cities since the adoption of the law. 

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Published on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 in Thousand Oaks Acorn
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