Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance

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 ADU

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs) are additional independent living facilities, for one or more persons, which are located the same parcel as a residential dwelling unit.

The City is in the process of amending its regulations to permit the development of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs) in conjunction with residential dwelling units.

What are the City's current ADU and JADU regulations?

Citywide, ADUs and JADUs are primarily regulated through Section 20.48.200 (Accessory Dwelling Units) of Title 20 (Planning and Zoning) of the Newport Beach Municipal Code (NBMC). Updated regulations become effective on April 23, 2020.

Within the Coastal Zone, ADUs and JADUs are primarily regulated through Section 21.48.200 (Accessory Dwelling Units) of Title 21 (Local Coastal Program Implementation Plan) of the NBMC. Updated regulations to this section are pending California Coastal Commission review and approval and are anticipated to become effective later 2020 (see expanded discussion below).

These regulations are complicated, do you have an easy-to-reference table that summarizes the regulations by type of ADU/JADU?

Yes, please click here for a reference table.

Furthermore, the California Department of Housing and Community Development issued a final Technical Advisory Handbook on ADUs.

Why did the City update the regulations?

In 2019, the California Legislature approved, and the Governor signed, SB 13 (Chapter 653, Statutes of 2019), AB 68 (Chapter 655, Statutes of 2019), and AB 881 (Chapter 659, Statutes of 2019) into law, which amended Government Code sections 65852.2 and 65852.22 to impose new limits on the City’s ability to regulate ADUs and JADUs.

The State of California Department of Housing and Community Development has issued a Technical Advisory Memorandum that explains the changes to state law.

I thought Newport Beach was a charter city, why do we have to follow State Law? 

The State Legislature determined that these changes are a matter of statewide concern, rather than a municipal affair. This determination allows the State to mandate charter cities implement the new ADU laws.

Was there public meetings to discuss these changes?

Yes, public hearings were conducted by the Planning Commission and City Council. The following are the dates of the public hearings and important documents:

Planning Commission

February 20, 2020 - Public Hearing

City Council

March 10, 2020 - Public Hearing (Introduction of Ordinance)

March 24, 2020 - 2nd Reading of Ordinance

What changed?  

In addition to allowing ADUs and JADUs on any property that is improved with a residential dwelling unit, the State is mandating several other changes, a summary of which includes:

Standard Old Regulations Versus New Regulations
 Location  

Old: Residentially zoned property improved with a single-unit residence.

New: Any property improved with a single-unit, multiple-unit, or mixed-use development.
Number of Units Allowed  

Old: On residentially zoned property developed with a single-unit dwelling, one ADU only.

New: On single-unit developed properties, one ADU and one JADU. On multiple-unit and mixed-use developed properties, up to 25 percent of the existing units (minimum one allowed
Minimum Lot Size  

Old: 5,000 square feet.

New: No minimum lot size.
Maximum Unit Size  

Old: ADU = 750 square feet.

New: ADU = 850 square feet for studios and one- bedroom units and 1,000 square feet for two-bedroom units; JADU = 500 square feet.
 Setbacks  

Old: For garage conversions, no additional setback is required, beyond what is currently provided. For ADUs above the garage a five-foot side and rear setback is required. For all others, setbacks are per the zoning code requirement for the base zone.

New: For conversion and replacement of existing structures, no additional setback is required, beyond what is currently provided. Front setbacks are per the zoning code requirement for the base zone. Side and rear setbacks are per the zoning code requirement for the base zone or four feet, whichever is less.
 Height  

Old: For attached units or units above garages, the height is per the zoning code requirement for the base zone.

For detached units, the maximum height is 14 feet.

New: For attached units or units above garages, the height is per the zoning code requirement for the base zone. For detached units, the maximum height is 16 feet.
 Parking  

Old: One space per unit, except if property is:

  1. located within one-half (1/2) mile of a major transit stop;
  2. located within one (1) block of a designated car share pick up and drop off location;
  3. located within an architecturally and historically significant historic district;
  4. proposed to be converted from the existing space entirely within the primary dwelling unit or an existing accessory structure; or
  5. located in a permit parking area where on-street parking permits are required, but not offered to the occupant(s) of the accessory dwelling unit.

New: For JADU, no parking is required.

For ADU, one space per unit, with the same exceptions described above; however, exception 1) has been changed to located within one-half (1/2) mile walking distance of public transit.
 Garage Conversions  

Old: When garage, carport, or covered parking is replaced/converted to ADU, parking shall be replaced in any configuration on the same lot.

New: If garage, carport, or covered parking is replaced/converted to ADU, no replacement parking is required.

However, due to a potential inconsistency with the Coastal Act related to public access, replacement parking for properties within the coastal zone is required to minimize impacts to public access.
 Owner-Occupancy Requirement  

Old: The property owner shall live in either the primary residence or the ADU.

New: For ADU, the property owner shall live in either the primary residence or the ADU. For JADU, the property owner shall live in the primary residence. However, this rule is suspended for ADUs created between 1/1/2020 and 1/1/2025, during which time no owner-occupancy requirements are required.

     

How does this affect my community?

The amendments may allow a homeowner to obtain a building permit to develop an ADU within your community. AB 670 (Chapter 178, Statutes of 2019), limits the ability of some Homeowner’s Associations to prohibit ADUs and JADUs, even if there are Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) that disallow them. If you are interested in constructing an ADU, please consult with your HOA prior to engaging an architect and initiating the process with the City.

How are the regulations different for properties in the Coastal Zone?

Properties located in the Coastal Zone are subject to regulation of the Local Coastal Program (LCP), in addition to the Zoning Code. The proposed changes to the LCP will require approval from the California Coastal Commission (under review) prior to the new regulations taking effect in the Coastal Zone. Until the City's proposed LCP amendment (LC2019-008) is approved by the Coastal Commission, a coastal development permit (CDP) cannot be approved for an ADU that is inconsistent with the current LCP requirements of Section 21.48.200; however, pursuant to Coastal Commission Guidance, an ADU or JADU may be permitted if exempt from the requirements of a CDP, as discussed below.

1. Exempt projects would include:

  • ADU/JADU Conversion- An ADU or JADU repurposed from existing area within a single-unit dwelling, multi-unit building, or detached accessory structure where there is no increase in floor area, with the following exceptions:
  • Does not apply to the conversion of garage where replacement parking is not provided due to the potential impacts to public access in the coastal zone.
  • Does not apply to detached accessory structures located on a beach, in a wetland, seaward of mean high tide line, in an environmentally sensitive habitat area, in an area designated as scenic in the LCP, or within 50 feet of the edge of a coastal bluff.
  • New Construction ADU (Attached)
  • Additions to existing single-unit dwellings, unless located within 300 feet of sea or beach, in which case addition shall be limited to 10 percent of existing floor area and an increase in height of no more than 10 percent.
  • Exemption does not apply if improvement is located on a beach, in a wetland, seaward of mean high tide line, in an environmentally sensitive habitat area, in an area designated as scenic in the LCP, or within 50 feet of the edge of a coastal bluff. 

2. Determine if Waiver appropriate. A Waiver may be appropriate for a new detached ADU that is detached and has no potential for any adverse effect on coastal resources. Note, if a property is located within an Appealable Area, a CDP will be required.

3. Categorical Exclusion Order. Development subject to the City’s Exclusion Order (CEO) is limited to demolition and/or construction of single-unit and two-unit dwelling units and their appurtenant facilities in the R-1, R-BI, and R-2 Zoning Districts within specific geographic areas. For the purposes of permitting ADUs and JADUs within CEO eligible properties, the ADU/JADU should be considered an appurtenant facility to the allowed development. The qualifying single-unit or two-unit dwelling and the JADU/ADU project must comply with all regulations of the existing Title 21 regulations applicable to the property, including current ADU regulations, prior to submitting a CEO for the project. 

Where can I obtain more information? 

For information about ADUs and JADUs, please call the Permit Center at (949) 644-3204 to speak to a Planner.