Los Angeles Streamlines ADU Permits with High-Design Templates

Los Angeles' ADU Standard Plan Program will offer homeowners a set of pre-approved designs that will save them time and money.

March 8, 2021, 12:00 PM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Accessory Dwelling Unit rendering

Redwood City-based Abodu Method Homes provides one of the pre-approved ADU designs. | Abodu Method Homes / Rendering of Abodu One Accessory Dwelling Unit design.

On the heels of legislation that legalized the construction of stand-alone residential units on lots traditionally zones for single-family homes, the Los Angeles mayor's office and the city's Building and Safety Department are launching an initiative aimed at reducing the red tape involved in securing permits for accessory dwelling units (ADUs), commonly known as "granny flats." By pre-approving a set of designs appropriate for backyard units, reports Carolina Miranda in the Los Angeles Times, the city is "shaving weeks off the permitting process" and providing property owners with more than a dozen "over-the-counter" designs for backyard units. Proponents of ADUs believe that looser regulations will help ease the housing crunch, add more affordable rentals to the market, and lower the barriers for moderate-income landowners to become landlords.

The ADU Standard Plan Program "will feature designs by a range of architectural studios, from the well-established to the up-and-coming, including Escher GuneWardena, Fung + Blatt, Taalman Architecture, Design, Bitches and wHY, the Culver City-based firm led by Kulapat Yantrasast that has had a hand in numerous museum expansions — most recently, the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. The New York-based SO-IL, the designers behind the well-reviewed Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis, contributed the flower-shaped-studio concept." The pre-approved designs range in style and function in keeping with some of L.A.'s most iconic styles, from a modernist flower-shaped pavilion to a Spanish-styled bungalow.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti praised the initiative for its combination of efficiency and style. "We want to solve the housing crisis; we want to stabilize our neighborhoods," the mayor said, "but we also want to see beautiful design."

Friday, March 5, 2021 in Los Angeles Times

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