City Takes Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) To The Next Level – Planning Commission to Approve New Standards

Covid-19 Update: The Planning Commission meeting on April 2, 2020,
will be available through Webex as well as a dial-in conference call line.
All information can be found on the City website.

Planning Commission – April 2, 2020 at 5:30 p.m.
Link to eComment

Do you wish there were more affordable rental options available in Irvine?

Would you be interested in earning extra income by having an accessory dwelling unit on your property?

Do you wish to keep your neighborhood “as is” and maintain single-family lots?

Is it a hassle to find parking on your street?

The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on a series of Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) zoning changes that allow the City to appropriately regulate ADUs and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADU). Residents can live-stream the planning meeting and also participate by sending in public comments via eComments.

The proposed zoning changes take into consideration the new state law and the City’s desire to “ensure humane housing for residents and consistency with the aesthetics of the neighborhood.”  The Planning Commission may propose to change, alter, or decline to recommend any of the proposed revisions. Homeowners will have the opportunity to attend a second public hearing on this agenda item when it goes before the City Council for final approval at a future date.

Below are some highlights of the proposed ADU development standards. The Staff Report provides all the recommendations and technical changes.

What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit?
An ADU is an attached or detached residential dwelling unit that provides complete independent living facilities for one or more persons and is located on the same parcel with a proposed or existing primary residence.The maximum square footage for a detached ADU (Single Family and Multi Family) is 1,200 square feet.

What is a Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit- JADU?
A JADU is an attached dwelling unit located within a single-family dwelling or accessory structure. The  JADU unit is no more than 500 square feet and is typically a bedroom in a home that has an entrance into the unit from the main home and an entrance to the outside from the JADU. The JADU must have cooking facilities including a sink, and a private bathroom. Only one JADU is allowed in a single family residential detached dwelling unit.

Number of ADUs Allowed on a Lot

  • Single family residential detached parcels: Up to 2 ADUs allowed (one JADU & 1 ADU but not 2 ADUs)
  • Multi-family residential parcels: Up to 2 detached ADU units with restrictions.

The city is not permitting an ADU if parking cannot be accommodated somehow. One parking space is required per ADU or JADU. A required accessory dwelling parking space is in addition to any required parking for the principal single-family dwelling unit. ADU parking can be in garages, carports or tandem parking on an existing driveway leading to a garage.

Traffic Flow Provisions
ADUs and JADUs are prohibited near deficient intersections. These are intersections identified by the City as having poor traffic flow and public safety concerns.

Occupancy Requirements
The legal owner of the residential property is required to occupy either the primary unit, the ADU or the JADU.

Garage Conversions and On-Site Replacement Parking
On site replacement parking is required for ADU garage conversions at an existing single family detached residence. Homeowners will need to provide parking for the displaced vehicles (and any parking required by the ADU) on site. This could be in a driveway. However, if the homeowner doesn’t have adequate driveway space, perhaps a 10 foot driveway, they would not be permitted to convert their garage. The homeowner still has to meet the existing landscaping requirements. Garage conversions are not permitted for multi-family residential lots.

Related Watchdog article: Backyard Building Boom