Berkeley City Council to talk about easing Accessory Dwelling requirements



Not to be outdone by recent moves by the cities of Santa Cruz and Menlo Park, Berkeley will be discussing significant changes that ease the requirements for building an accessory dwelling.  The changes are set to become official in the upcoming September 16, 2014, City Council meeting. The proposed ordinances should substantially reduce costs and permitting issues while still protecting the residential neighborhoods by encouraging well designed site plans and architectural design.

Here is the scoop:

Summary of Planning Commission Recommendation
A summary of the proposed zoning regulations for ADUs is provided below. Regulations that are not changed from the existing standards are identified as “No change.” “As-of-right” means with a Zoning Certificate and Building Permit, but no discretionary review; “AUP” means a discretionary, Administrative Use Permit would be required at a cost of $2,000 and time frame of roughly three to four months.

Density. ADUs only allowed on lots with one existing main dwelling unit and cannot be subdivided into a condominium unit. When attached to or within the main dwelling unit, a separate entrance not on the front of the main house is required. (No change)

Lot Size. ADUs allowed as-of-right on lots of 3,800 square feet or larger; with an AUP on all smaller lots.

ADU Size. ADUs allowed to be 300 to 750 square feet in size.

Setbacks. ADUs allowed in stand-alone (detached) buildings as-of-right on the rear half of a lot and four feet or greater from the side and rear property lines; with an AUP everywhere else except the front yard setback (front 15-20 feet of a lot).

Height. The proposed zoning makes use of the existing height standards for all accessory buildings in Chapter 23D.08. Under Chapter 23D.08, ADUs in stand-alone (detached) buildings are allowed to be taller as they get further away from the property line. However, ADUs are limited to a maximum of 14 feet in average height and a maximum of 10 feet in height at any point within four feet of the property line.

Within the Hillside Overlay zone (H-Overlay), ADUs may be permitted within the frontyard setback and up to 24 feet in height when located above a garage, with an AUP.

Parking. A new, off-street parking space is required for ADUs except when located within one-quarter mile of a major transit route or stop. In such cases, no Residential Parking Permit will be provided for the new ADU address. Tandem parking for the ADU is allowed as-of-right.

Parking can be waived with an AUP if it would be detrimental to the lot and 1) the lot is close to transit, or 2) a survey found adequate parking in the immediate neighborhood, or 3) alternative transportation options are provided.

Open Space and Coverage. The lot is required to meet the district open space standards and maximum coverage requirements for both the main dwelling unit and the ADU. (No change)

Hillside Overlay and Narrow Roadways. ADUs are allowed as-of-right in the H-Overlay if they meet all the other standards. ADUs are prohibited on lots that do not meet minimum fire access requirements. (No change)

Here’s the agenda item from the City of Berkeley. The link is to a PDF of the full proposal.

4.   Zoning Amendments to Encourage Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs); Amending BMC Titles 23D, 23E, and 23F
From: City Manager
Recommendation: Adopt first reading of two Ordinances modifying the existing regulation of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) to remove regulatory barriers.  The Ordinances include adding a new Berkeley Municipal Code (BMC) Chapter 23D.10, compiling the new ADU regulations, and amending the existing residential zoning district chapters in BMC Titles 23D, 23E, and 23F for consistency with the new chapter.
Financial Implications: See report
Contact: Eric Angstadt, Planning and Development, 981-7400

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