Keeping Those Close to You Close to Home: Accessory Dwelling Units Balance Togetherness and Independence

Do you need an addition to your home or a new structure on your property to accommodate a loved one? Multigenerational living, when more than one generation lives under one roof (not counting young children or teens), has hit record levels in the United States. In 2016, according to Pew Research Center data, 64 million people, or 20 percent of the U.S. population, lived in multigenerational homes. We design and build accessory dwelling units (ADUs), in-law suites, backyard cottages, secondary units, and Granny flats. Our experienced and caring team helps you arrive at the best solution for your family as you plan for multi-generational living.

New, Easier Process in San Diego
The number of granny flat (sometimes called “companion unit”) applications in San Diego increased from 19 in 2016 to over 600 in 2019. In 2020, California rule changes make the process faster and easier if you are a homeowner planning to build an accessory dwelling unit on your property. Updates include:

  • Faster Approval: California cities must now provide ministerial approval or denial within 60 days of receiving an application.
  • Minimum and Maximum Size Requirements: Local discretion is now limited when it comes to establishing minimum and maximum unit size requirements.
  • Sewer and Water Fee Waiver: For ADUs up to 750 square feet, the state has waived sewer and water fees, potentially saving homeowners thousands of dollars.
  • Reduced Setbacks: Setbacks for ADUs have been reduced to 4’ for the side and rear yards.
  • Impact Fees: California cities can no longer charge impact fees for ADUs under 750 sq. ft. For ADUs larger than 750 sq. ft., impact fees are required to be proportional to the size of the ADU in relation to the primary dwelling.
  • New Rules for Garages: California’s rule changes permit you to replace your garage with a new ADU that matches its footprint.
  • No Prohibitions from HOAs and CC&TRs: With the new adjustments to CA regulations Homeowners Associations or the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions of properties can no longer reasonably prohibit the development of ADUs.
  • Parking Rules: ADUs, once required to have one parking space per unit or bedroom if they were more than half a mile from public transit, have been released from that rule with the 2020 laws.

California also softened regulations on “junior granny flats,” which must be located within an existing structure. Junior units can now be built in garages, and a property owner can now have both a granny flat and a junior granny flat on the same site.

Benefits of an ADU
There are many benefits in combining households. Grandparents can provide live-in childcare, living together is often less expensive, and adult children can help frail parents. ADUs have additional benefits besides providing a safe home for a loved one, including:

  • Significant increased property value in comparison to investment
  • Private space for visiting guests
  • Boost local housing supply
  • Rental income
  • Separate Work from Home area

ADA Compliance and Universal Design
An ADA-compliant living space is one in which the occupant can use everything in the home without assistance from another person. “Universal Design” encompasses ADA-compliance by acknowledging disability, aging and other differences as part of everyday life. Design features may include one-story living, no-step entryways, wide doorways, extra floor space, floors and bathroom features with no-slip surfaces, improved lighting, and details such as lever door handles.

The Jackson Design and Remodeling team offers you an exceptional depth of knowledge and experience when you are considering adding ADA compliant and universal design space to your home. Our streamlined systems accelerate the design build process from the day of our very first meeting until the day construction ends. Since we handle all of the details for you, you won’t feel rushed, but you will feel as if everything is being taken care of as quickly as possible. See more details here.