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 - tandem parking in driveway is allowed (including non-conforming driveways that don’t comply with the minimum 2-foot landscaping strip).  Proposed ADUs that are within one quarter mile of a BART station and located in an RPP zone will have no additional parking requirement. No Residential Parking Permit will be issued to an ADU under all circumstances.    

  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.  ADUs may be allowed with an AUP on lots on streets that do not meet minimum fire access requirements.  ADU may be allowed only if the fire flow and water pressure meet minimum fire safety requirements.



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