Accessory Dwelling Units

In July 2015, City Council approved new regulations regarding Accessory Dwelling Units (also known as ADU's/secondary/in-law units). I believe these changes will allow Berkeley homeowners to age in place, and increase Berkeley's housing stock in a subtle way. Read my Daily Cal op-ed on housing in Berkeley here.

These regulations streamline rules around Accessory Dwelling Units. A summary of the ordinance is copied below:

  1. No lot size requirement.

  2. Maximum size of 750 square feet or 75% of the primary structure, whichever is less.

  3. Height - 14 foot maximum height at peak of roof, 10 foot maximum at eave of roof. Not to exceed 10 feet at property line.

  4. Setback – 4 foot minimum side and rear setback from property line. No side or rear setback required if ADU will replace preexisting buildings on the property line.

  5. Parking - Parking is not required for ADUs. If an Accessory Dwelling Unit removes a required off-street parking space for the main dwelling unit, the subject lot shall provide one off-street parking space.

  6. Other - Legal property owner shall live in main dwelling unit or ADU.  If ADU is built on property line, doors and windows cannot face neighbors’ property.  Should be excluded from use as short term rentals.  ADUs are prohibited in the Environmental Safety Residential (ESR) zone. An ADU may only be approved when located on a lot with access from a roadway with a minimum 26 feet in pavement width, unless an Acceptable Use Policy is approved.  ADU may be allowed only if the fire flow and water pressure meet minimum fire safety requirements.



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