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Council Conducts First Reading of ADU Parking Ordinance

Published on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 | 5:42 pm

The City Council on Monday conducted the first reading of an ordinance that would remove requirements to provide two covered parking spaces when building an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) exceeding 150 square feet.

New construction of an ADU requires two covered parking spaces with either a carport or an enclosed garage. Smaller additions of up to 150 square feet to single family dwellings are exempt from this requirement.

According to a city staff report in June, City Manager Steve Mermell initiated a zoning code amendment “to eliminate the requirement for providing two covered parking spaces when constructing any addition, regardless of size, to an existing single family dwelling.”

Recently enacted state laws limit the types of parking requirements that local agencies can impose on ADUs, whether they are detached or converted from existing structures.

The zoning code requires two covered parking spaces within a garage or carport. 

A specific provision allows additions with a maximum total of 150 square feet to be made without requiring the two-car covered parking requirement.

As a result, any addition to an existing residence, including construction of an accessory structure such as a pool house or workshop, of over 150 square feet triggers a requirement to provide two covered spaces within a garage or carport.

The code provides an exception for designated historic resources, wherein a homeowner may request a waiver of the covered parking requirement when adding floor area if an existing one-car garage contributes to the significance of the property and/or district and is in good condition or will be returned to good condition as part of the work to add floor area to the dwelling.

The current rules creates an inequity for homeowners seeking to build additions that often do not generate any additional parking demand.

The ordinance eliminates significant cost barriers for homeowners looking to modernize and improve their properties and make parking regulations consistent with those mandated by state law for ADUs.

State law exempts ADUs from the requirement to build covered parking altogether, and allows the use of driveways to satisfy off-street parking requirements.

“With these regulations in place, a homeowner would be able to build an ADU of up to 1,200 square feet without any enclosed parking, but if they instead chose to build a 200 square-foot addition for a home office, they would also need to provide two covered parking spaces at significant additional cost,” according to the staff report.

The parking requirement would still apply to such additions in the hillside areas, as well as to new construction. 

The city’s zoning code currently regulates parking requirements for newly constructed single-family residential dwellings as well as additions to existing single-family dwellings. 

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