Santa Cruz is making it easier to build an Accessory Dwelling

Santa Cruz City Hall

Santa Cruz City Hall

Great news, residents of Santa Cruz! The Santa Cruz Planning commission  is expected to change its rules to make it easier to build “secondary units built on single-family lots” – in other words, accessory dwellings. The changes come as part of an effort promote higher density  and more affordable housing. More than 20 changes will be made to building rules, but here are the most important:

  • The minimum lot size required to build an ADU will be reduced from 5,000 square feet to 4,500 square feet.
  • The setback distance between the main structure and an ADU will reduced from 10 feet to 6 feet.
  • The maximum permissible size for an ADU will be increased to 10% of the total lot size, up to 940 feet.

Santa Cruz has been criticized for a “rental inspection program” that has targeted 119 un-permitted accessory dwellings in the city. These rules changes should legalize many of these units retroactively, and are expected to make 800 additional single-family lots eligible to build an accessory dwelling.

The public may attend the Commission’s consideration of these rule changes tonight at 7 pm at the Council Chamber on 809 Center St.

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