A General Overview of Accessory Dwelling Units
What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit?
Section 22.14.010 (A)
A dwelling unit with independent exterior access that is either attached to, located within the existing living area, or detached from and located on the same lot as an existing single-family residence. This term includes manufactured and mobile homes, as defined in Sections 18007 and 18008 of the California Health and Safety Code. An accessory dwelling is accessory to a primary single-family residence; does not count towards the allowable density for the lot upon which it is located; and includes permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation. Attached accessory dwelling unit. An attached accessory dwelling is separated from the primary residence by a solid wall and does not provide interior access to the primary residence.
Key Points to Know:
A. ADUs shall be approved with a ministerial site plan review if they meet all of the following requirements:
1. The unit is not intended for sale separate from the primary residence.
2. The zoning of the lot allows residential uses by right and contains at least one existing, single-family residence. If the lot is vacant or the existing single-family residence is to be demolished, the application(s) must include construction of both the primary residence and ADU.
3. The ADU is either attached to the primary residence, contained within the existing space1 of the primary residence, or detached from the primary residence and located on the same lot as the primary residence.
4. The ADU has independent exterior access.
5. The increased floor area of an attached ADU is not more than 50 percent of the existing floor area, with a maximum increase in floor area of 1,200 square feet.
6. The total floor area for a detached ADU is not more than 1,200 square feet, regardless of lot size.
7. The required distance between the ADU and the primary residence, and between the ADU and structures on adjacent lots, must comply with fire separation requirements in Section R302 of the California Residential Code (Attachment 2).
8. The ADU meets all development standards in Part IV of this memo.
B. ADUs approved ministerially shall be processed within four months of receiving a completed application.
IV. Development standards
A. No development standards shall apply to ADUs, except for the following:
1. A stepback of five feet from the side and rear lot lines shall be required for an ADU that is established above a garage. The ADU can be constructed wholly or partly above the garage, including extending beyond the garage walls.
2. Height limits applicable to single-family residences in the zone shall apply to the ADU.
3. Parking for ADUs shall be required in accordance with subsection E of Section 22.52.1180, with the following exceptions:
a. No parking shall be required for the ADU if any of the following apply:
i. The ADU is located within one-half mile of public transit (including a bus stop, as verified by checking a current transit map for the area); or
ii. The ADU is entirely contained within the existing space of a primary residence or existing accessory structure; or
iii. When on-street parking permits are required but not offered to the occupant of the ADU; or
iv. When there is a car share vehicle located within one block of the ADU. This can be verified by checking the maps on Zipcar http://www.zipcar.com/find-cars/losangeles or Turo https://turo.com/rentals.
B. When a garage, carport or covered parking structure is demolished or rendered unusable in conjunction with the construction of an ADU, any parking spaces required for the ADU or primary residence may be provided as covered spaces, uncovered spaces, tandem spaces on an existing driveway, or by the use of mechanical parking lifts.
4. An ADU shall have a total size of at least 150 square feet, with at least one habitable room of at least 70 square feet. An ADU must contain a bathroom including a toilet, lavatory and bathtub or shower; and a kitchen area with a sink. Habitable rooms, not including the kitchen, are required to have a minimum horizontal dimension of 7 feet. Bathrooms, toilet rooms, closets, halls, storage or utility spaces and similar areas are not considered habitable rooms.
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