ADU Ordinance Change in SLO County Allows for New Growth

adu-housingAre you looking to expand your current home to add a new structure or dwelling? While this has been difficult, to say the least, in San Luis Obispo County, change is coming in the new year.

January 2017

In 2017, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new law allowing homeowners to add a second dwelling unit to their properties. This additional unit, also known as an Accessory Dwelling Unit or ADU as well as a “granny flat,” can be as simple as an apartment over your garage, a basement apartment or a separate small house on the same property. San Luis Obispo County, however, did not adopt the state law, creating a significant barrier for homeowners in the area interested in making additional funds from rental or in expanding their current dwelling to support a growing family, for example.

Recognizing the need for more affordable housing options, San Luis Obispo County is expected to change its housing ordinance in the first quarter of 2020. Until the county passes its own law, which is anticipated to take effect by April 1, it will follow in accordance with the statewide law – leaving the door wide open for homeowners to add an ADU or granny flat without any country-specific restrictions.

“As the number of permits for ADUs in California continues to increase, we are pleased that San Luis Obispo can join in on this statewide growth trend,” said Michael Smith. “We look forward to helping more homeowners create their dream expansion project and to help reduce the housing shortage.”

Second Living Unit on Your Property

A housing unit on the same lot as a single-family dwelling, an Accessory Dwelling Unit can be attached or detached. ADUs can range from cottages to small houses, depending on the homeowner’s needs and the focus of the project. They are also popular for advocates of “aging in place,” since they can allow seniors to stay in their own place, close to a family member or friend who lives in the other unit.

If you are considering an expansion project, it is important to keep the following in mind:

  • Consult an expert to make sure your dwelling meets any local regulations. Just because ADUs are now an option in San Luis Obispo County doesn’t mean they are regulation-free – you will want to consider height restrictions, utilities, setbacks and more. We are happy to discuss the pros and cons and ins and outs of this option with you.
  • Plan for access to your dwelling. If you are building a new unit, both safety and aesthetics play a role when it comes to access.
  • Remember your neighbors. If your dwelling is going to peer right into your next-door neighbor’s window, for example, you can consider adding landscaping for privacy.

If you are ready to expand your living situation in the new year, we would love to help you imagine the possibilities for your new Accessory Dwelling Unit.  Attend a Free Live Webinar where Mike will discuss your options under the new ordinance in San Luis Obispo County