california adu bill 2221

New ADU Bills – CA Bill 2221

The California Assembly Bill 2221, also known as the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Clean-Up Bill, has recently been passed to clarify and define existing legislation in the state. This bill aims to address the challenges faced by homeowners in the permitting process for ADUs and to ensure that the regulations are clear and straightforward.

One of the major regulations brought about by the changes in 2020 was the requirement for cities to either approve or deny a permit application within 60 days. This caused a lot of pressure on planning departments to process applications quickly, leading to many applications being denied due to time constraints. To address this issue, AB 2221 now requires cities to provide a written explanation of all the reasons for denying an application, which will force cities to review applications more carefully and avoid rejections due to minor issues. The language has also been changed from “local agencies” to “permitting agencies,” so now every entity that issues a permit is held to the 60-day requirement.

Another significant change introduced by AB 2221 is the height restrictions for ADUs. The bill requires all cities to allow a minimum height limit of 16 feet for ADUs. However, cities are allowed to allow higher heights, and there are scenarios in which they are required to do so. For example, a height of 18 feet is required if the structure is within ½ a mile from public transit or if the property already has a multi-family dwelling that is two stories high. A height of 25 feet is required if the ADU is attached to the primary dwelling.

AB 2221 also exempts front setbacks from restrictions that could prevent the construction of ADUs. If the floor area ratio or open space ratio set by the city prevents the construction of an ADU, these regulations are not enforceable if the ADU is under 800 sq ft.

In conclusion, AB 2221 is a game-changer for homeowners in California who are interested in constructing ADUs. The bill provides clarity and definition to the existing legislation, ensures that the permitting process is more straightforward and less time-consuming, and provides guidelines on height restrictions and exemptions from restrictions. With these changes, California homeowners can expect a higher return on investment with the addition of ADUs to their properties.

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