New California Accessory Dwelling Unit Laws Take Effect Today

New state legislation will kick in at the start of the new year easing restrictions on ADUs.

1 minute read

January 1, 2020, 1:00 PM PST

By Camille Fink


Accessory Dwelling Unit

Nicolás Boullosa / Flickr

"Cities like La Cañada Flintridge will be forced in 2020 to throw open the doors for the construction and proliferation of accessory dwelling units, when several new state measures overriding municipal limitations on the structures take effect Jan. 1," writes Sara Cardine.

The new law allows ADUs up to 800 square feet as well as an additional junior ADU attached to the primary residence on a property. Side and rear setbacks for ADU buildings will also be reduced to 4 feet, and applications will not require commission reviews.

La Cañada was considering an urgency ordinance to replace the city’s existing ADU regulations with a revised ordinance that allows property owners to designate separate addresses and utility accounts.

However, the vote was postponed and state regulations will take effect at the start of the new year until the city council puts a regular ordinance in place. "Even then, the laws will mostly mirror state regulations, as cities can make only minor additional amendments regarding hillside development standards under the new state law," notes Cardine.

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