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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.

Why is the City updating 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.

These new laws have rendered the City’s current ordinance regulating ADUs null and void, thereby limiting the City to the application of the few default standards provided in Government Code sections 65852.2 and 65852.22 for the approval of ADUs and JADUs, unless and until a compliant ordinance is adopted.

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.

Will there be public meetings to discuss these changes?

Yes, since these changes are amending the Zoning Code and Local Coastal Program public hearings will be conducted by the Planning Commission and City Council. The following are the dates of the public hearings and important documents:

Planning Commission
Public Hearing Date – February 20, 2020

Staff Report (with attachments)

City Council
Public Hearing Date - March 10, 2020

Staff Report (with attachments)

What is changing?  

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  Newport Beach Municipal Code vs New State ADU Law
 Location  

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

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

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

New State ADU Law: 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  

Existing NBMC: 5,000 square feet.

New State ADU Law: No minimum lot size.
Maximum Unit Size  

Existing NBMC: ADU = 750 square feet.

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

Existing NBMC: 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 State ADU Law: 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  

Existing NBMC: 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 State ADU Law: 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  

Existing NBMC: 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 State ADU Law: 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  

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

New State ADU Law: 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, the proposed code amendment does require replacement parking for properties within the coastal zone.
 Owner-Occupancy Requirement  

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

New State ADU Law: 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 prior to the new regulations taking effect in the Coastal Zone. Until the LCP amendment is approved, properties in the Coastal Zone are subject to Government Code Sections 65852.2 and 65852.22.

A Coastal Development Permit (CDP) for an ADU or JADU may be required unless the project is eligible for an exemption or waiver from the requirements of a CDP.

1. Exempt projects would include:

  • ADU Conversion- An ADU or JADU repurposed from existing area within a single-family residence or accessory structure where there is no increase in floor area.
  • New Construction ADU (Attached)
    • Additions to existing single-family residences, 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. However, if a property is located within an Appealable Area, a CDP will be required.

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.