Oakland Eases Restrictions on Secondary Housing Units

Following the recent example of cities like Vancouver, Austin, and Berkeley, Oakland, CA recently made it much easier for residents to create secondary units, also known as accessory dwelling units.

January 9, 2016, 9:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

According to Darwin BondGraham, "the Oakland City Council voted to ease restrictions on the construction of secondary housing units, or backyard cottages," earlier this week.

"The new rules promote more rental housing by easing parking requirements, allowing homeowners to transform existing backyard buildings like sheds and garages into living spaces, and relaxing height and setback requirements," according to BondGraham's summary of the new regulations.

The article provides more background on the case for secondary housing units (also known as accessory dwelling units (ADUs), granny flats, or mother-in law units). Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is cited in the article as a supporter of the new regulations, but opposition, common in some neighborhoods and cities considering similar restrictions, is not mentioned.

The nearby city of Berkeley approved similar new regulations in March 2015, with the added layer of prohibiting the use of ADUs for short-term rentals. Under Oakland's new regulations, owners of such units could rent the property through services like Airbnb. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016 in East Bay Express

Soldier Field

Phase 1 Revealed for $20 Billion Chicago Megaproject

Plans for One Central, a proposed megadevelopment that would add 22.3 million square feet of buildings to the city of Chicago, are taking shape.

October 19, 2021 - Chicago Tribune


Boston Introduces 'Maximum Parking Ratios' for Large Buildings

Large buildings with uses of all kinds will be subject to Boston's new "Maximum Parking Ratios."

October 14, 2021 - Streetsblog Mass

A person in a bright green vest with the words "Covid Marshall" patrols a street fair in Australia.

5 Tips for Planning Safe Post-Pandemic Events

As community events start move off-screen and become available to the public again, here are five ways organizers can ensure public health and safety.

October 13, 2021 - Devin Partida

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.