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Our Community Development Department –

News about ADU’s, SB9, and More!

June 2022 by City Manager Rachelle Rickard

The City of Atascadero’s Community Development Department is made up of a team of dynamic and energetic individuals who work together to help promote development that is consistent with our General Plan while supporting economic vitality and development, and to ensure that all construction within the City is consistent with the Building Code. Community Development topics that are currently generating a lot of local interest include ADU’s and SB9, both enacted by the State to increase the production of housing:

ADU’s: An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a residential unit that can be added to a lot with an existing single-family home or multi-family development. ADUs can be detached (such as a separate building in a backyard), attached as an addition to a part of the primary residence, or can be converted from an existing garage or other part of the primary residence. ADUs are independent rental units that have their own kitchens, bathrooms, and entrances. ADUs allow for the creation of more affordable housing opportunities; they can provide housing for relatives or friends, allow seniors to age in place, increase property values, and provide extra income if used as a long-term rental unit. We are in the process of creating an ADU Ordinance based on the unique needs of our community which would:

  • Keep the current 1-acre minimum lot size requirement for properties with a septic system.
  • Have limitations on the types of ADU’s that can be built on properties in Fire Hazard Zones.
  • Not allow ADU’s as short-term rentals, as per State law, they are intended to support affordable housing goals.

JADU’s: A JADU (Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit) is a section of an existing single-family home that is repurposed as an independent private dwelling by incorporating a small kitchen and separate entrance. The difference between a JADU and ADU is that JADU’s must be located within the existing primary residence and be no greater than 500 square feet in size. JADUs require owner- occupancy, either in the primary residence or accessory unit.

SB9: State of California Senate Bill 9 (SB9), also known as the California Housing Opportunity and More Efficiency (HOME) Act, became effective January 1, 2022. SB9 allows for up to two primary units per lot, or the split of an owner-occupied lot into two roughly equal sized lots. SB9 was created to provide more housing opportunities for Californians by allowing additional housing units per parcel, with some local regulations that still must be followed. The City has adopted an interim ordinance to guide local implementation of the measure. In order to qualify for a lot split or an additional unit in accordance with SB9 in Atascadero, a property site must:

  • Be within the City’s Urbanized Area (map available on our website).
  • Be within single-family residential zoning.
  • Have City sewer available to the property.
  • Be within an area that complies with fire access standards.
  • Be owner-occupied for a minimum of three years following application approval.

The state allows most of these units to be constructed with a simple building permit application along with the application of some local restrictions. Please contact the City if you are considering an ADU or SB9 development to determine if your property is eligible.

To learn more about Community Development activities, ADU’s SB9 and so much more, please visit this link Community Development Department. If you have any questions about this or any other topic related to the City of Atascadero, feel free to email me at rrickard@atascadero.org.  

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