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Accessory Dwelling Units


Accessory Dwelling Units: Here for a “limited time”?

There has been a lot of discussion recently about the state’s January 1st implementation for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) and it’s important to understand a bit about the reasoning for the change in code and also how this could affect our community.

So let’s start by defining what an ADU is: An ADU is as a second unit constructed on a single residential parcel, more commonly known as a granny flat or in-law unit. It can be rented out, detached or attached, a conversion from an existing structure or can be newly constructed (with limits on side and rear setbacks).

The concept behind these dwellings is to help satisfy the shortage of housing in California. Some of the commonly outlined benefits of ADUs are:

  • They are an affordable way of adding more housing options to a property without having to acquire land or add additional parking
  • They can provide income to the homeowner if they choose to rent it
  • They allow extended families to be close to one another, while still allowing for privacy and a sense of independence
  • They provide flexibility for families and others to offer housing for younger or older generations

Regardless of the orientation or attachment to the main home, an ADU cannot be sold separately and is legally part of the parcel, which cannot be split. So how does this affect Coronado. Before Jan 1st, 2017, the only properties allowed to have a granny-flat were the large lots, typically over 7,500sq.ft. The new law changes those limits; any single-family zoned parcel can now build or convert a structure into an ADU.

One of the most common questions coming out of the discussion regarding ADUs is how allowable square footage plays in. So far, Coronado has stated that the limit imposed by the City’s Floor Area Ratio (FAR) still applies; if a property is already at the limit imposed by the FAR, the ADU will either have to be built within the existing floor plan, or the existing floor plan will have to be shrunk by the size of the ADU added.

The new code is complicated and is taking cities quite a bit of time to update their local codes to reflect the changes. Since this is a state standard, local governments must approve ADUs until the jurisdiction adopts a compliant ordinance. It is likely that ADUs will become more restrictive in Coronado in the near future based on the lenient restrictions implemented on a state level, which the City of Coronado is already undertaking and discussing with feedback from concerned residents and hotel administrators alike.

If you would like more information on the subject, here are some resources which may help: Webinar:

Coronado City Council mtg Item#10e


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