Accessory dwelling units (“ADUs”) have become simpler to build and more popular in California as a result of legislative changes at the state level. The intent of these changes has been to clarify those laws, as well as to remove red tape and regulatory barriers at the local level. In particular, California laws passed in recent years have changed the rights and obligations of ADU builders with respect to parking.
For many years, until 2020, a number of cities put onerous parking requirements on new ADUs. This changed in January 2020.
First, a city can only require one parking space per ADU or per bedroom, whichever is less. The parking spaces may be tandem (one space in front of the other) on a driveway.
Second, if you are converting a garage or carport or other covered parking structure to an ADU (or demolishing it as part of an ADU installation), you do not have to replace that parking.
Third, a city cannot require you to add or change the parking on your property if any of the following apply:
- The ADU is within a half mile of public transportation.
- The ADU is in a district that has been deemed architecturally and historically significant.
- The ADU is part of the primary home or an accessory structure to the primary home.
- On-street parking permits are required but not issued to ADU occupants.
The California department of Housing and Community Development has issued a summary memo about these and other changes to California law concerning ADUs. You can view it here.