SPUR’s #ADUHousing panel: cautious optimism for broad implementation in SF

150429_SPUR-ADUHousing-1_800On Wednesday, April 29, urbanism advocacy institution SPUR brought together leading voices in the Bay Area’s Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) conversation to highlight opportunities and challenges in an increasingly probable approach to alleviating the region’s housing crisis.

SF Planning Department’s Kearstin Dischinger, a strong advocate for creative solutions to the city’s housing issues, introduced the context of the ADU trend (revolving mostly around multigenerational housing), the city’s current momentum (in the form of allowances for houses undergoing seismic retrofits) and potential to host ADUs in any of its thousands of large backyards. And she was quick to acknowledge that quieter neighborhoods are more opposed to the concept, and that the continued allowance of ADUs will be a piecemeal process. Kearstin presented a timeline of ADUs in San Francisco that dates back to housing WWII factory workers, was slowed by the spread of the automobile, and has had surging interest in the past 15 years, including new legal allowances.

Architect Mark Hogan then presented his work with CCA and SPUR to develop the sf-ADU Handbook – a resource he hopes will provide homeowners and contractors with sufficient research, design prototypes, and financial analysis to make educated decisions on aspiring accessory dwelling retrofits.

SF District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, who’s been responsible for many of the City’s new allowances to build ADU’s (including the ability for Castro homeowners to build standalone units). Wiener echoed astonishment for Dischinger’s timeline, noting how today’s passing proposals would not have been allowed as recently as 10 years ago. He also noted that the neighborhoods that are NOT pushing back against ADU allowances are like those in his district – accustomed to density, and very familiar with the housing crunch.

New Avenue CEO Kevin Casey, who has been working with homeowners to build ADUs nationwide for the past five years, brought a sense of universality and specificity to the conversation. He first noted Balinese villages, where he studied as an anthropologist, and Pacific Heights and Silicon Valley tech mansions, owned by the likes of Larry Page, each incorporate ADUs as part of day-to-day living. He then got into the numbers.

Based on over 100 build projects in New Avenue’s database, Casey had compiled some realistic trends for the costs of ADU construction. The price is not necessarily cheap, but the real hurt is in the timeline. New Avenue can routinely turn around an ADU project in 18 months less time without engaging the permitting process. Suffice to say such constraints don’t lend themselves to by-the-book development – look no further than the East Bay Express for desperate Bay Area residents taking permanent affordable housing into their own hands.

Across the U.S., cities are considering allowances for ADU construction to keep urban living affordable or to make room for growing families, including Austin, Ann Arbor, Portland OR, Berkeley, and Silicon Valley. The issue is not so much “can this happen,” but “can the government nimbly (not NIMBY) promote legal development of ADUs?” and, of course, “are enough neighbors open to these additions?”

It’s only a matter of time before we find out.

150429_SPUR-ADUHousing-4_800

San Francisco District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener fielded ADU questions at SPUR on Wednesday.

You can sign up and use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

Have any questions? We are available to discuss your goals & ideas. There’s no fee or commitment. To request a time for a call, just click here and tell us when to call you.

Urbanism From Within Exhibition – Designing Secondary Units for San Francisco

urbanism-md

It’s no secret that San Francisco is amidst a housing crisis. Quite simply, our housing supply hasn’t been able to keep up with growing demand. Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), or Secondary Units, are a part of the solution.

Within the last year, Supervisor Scott Weiner and former Supervisor David Chiu have authored successful legislation that will help the City make great progress in addressing the housing crisis through Accessory Dwelling Units, (ADU’s) or secondary units, within existing housing stock. ADUs are a great balance to increasing housing density that meet the modern need while recognizing and preserving the City’s unique – and vintage – architectural style and personality.

Thanks to the Planning Department’s recent partnerships with Openscope Studio and California College of the Art’s (CCA) Urban Works program, you can come see what an ADU could look like in your home or neighborhood. The architects at OpenScope Studio developed an ADU Handbook detailing the design, process, regulations and costs around the addition of an ADU in several typical San Francisco housing typologies.  Building on that work, CCA’s students visualized an Accessory Dwelling Unit by asking key questions such as:

  • Who occupies it?
  • How does it function?

This is an event for property owners, contractors, architects, designers, students and the general public alike to learn more about a variety of affordable housing in the City and the innovative methods being used to meet the housing needs for all San Franciscans.

Please come enjoy their fine work – and explore Urbanism from Within.

Exhibition opens 6:00 PM | Friday, February 20, 2015
At SPUR: 654 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA, 94105-4015

 

Schedule:

  • February 20th, 2015 – Opening Party
  • March 12th, 2015 – Symposium “Diffuse Density: Making Housing Affordable”
  • April 10, 2015 – Grounding Metabolism Book Launch
  • February 20th – May 1st, 2015 – Exhibition

http://www.spur.org/exhibitions/2015-02-20/urbanism-within

 

You can sign up and use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

Have any questions? We are available to discuss your goals & ideas. There’s no fee or commitment. To request a time for a call, just click here and tell us when to call you.

New Avenue is treating you to 2 open houses!

Haunted Eco-House, Palo AltoHalloween-21

Friday, Oct. 31 – 4:30p-8:30pmJoin us for a fun time at the Eco House, now the Haunted Eco-House this Halloween! Next to the Lucie Stern Complex by the Girl Scout House, staff will be on-hand to tell the story behind the modular house, and giving away treats to trick-or-treaters and to anyone interested in taking a look at what a small space can offer. Everyone is invited. Please RSVP so we can be ready with the treats! The location is 1120 Hopkins Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301 Here is a map. http://goo.gl/r7hjgI

Music Studio Open House, Berkeley
Sunday, Nov. 2nd – 12:00p-2:00pm

Join us for an open house of a beautiful 438 square foot music studio in Berkeley that’s in mid-construction! This is a private residence, so please RSVP below. We will email the address to you a couple of days before the event.

Admission is free for both events!

RSVP here!

You can sign up and use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

Have any questions? We are available to discuss your goals & ideas. There’s no fee or commitment. To request a time for a call, just click here and tell us when to call you.

Santa Cruz Open House of Mid-Construction Backyard Cottage, Saturday July 19th, 12-2pm

Santa Cruz ADU
Cedar custom 1×4″ fabricated and rabbited on site

Tour a 1,000 sq.ft. accessory dwelling under construction on Saturday, July 19th from 12-2pm in Santa Cruz.  The drywall just went up, so it’s a perfect time to get a sense of the size and flow of a beautiful ADU, with all the finishes still up to your imagination! Kathleen and John are building this home for Kathleen’s father.  The space has a 2-car garage, loft, full kitchen and lots of storage space for this active couple’s paddle boards, surf boards and bicycles!

New Avenue representatives will beElevations on hand answering any questions you have about our process and how projects like this work.  Feel free to invite your friends and family. Simply click here to RSVP and get the address.

Stay tuned for invitations to more open houses and events like this one. Please call us at 855.563.9283 or email info@newavenuehomes.com with any questions about this project or one you might have in mind for yourself.

You can sign up and use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

Have any questions? We are available to discuss your goals & ideas. There’s no fee or commitment. To request a time for a call, just click here and tell us when to call you.

Kim’s Open House, 99% Done! – Sep. 28 in El Cerrito, CA

Click to RSVP and we’ll email you the address of Kim’s Open House.

New Avenue is having two open houses coming up soon and the first one is this Saturday, September 28, 2013, from 1:00 to 4:00 in El Cerrito, CA! We’ll be there answering any questions you have about our process and the ins and outs of the projects. Feel free to share this invitation with your friends and family.

Homeowner and client Kim contacted us back in 2012 to add a one-bedroom cottage for both income and personal use. Construction began in the summer of 2013 and, presently, the project is 99% percent complete with a target completion date of this week! We had an open house for this project about a month ago and, since then, the finish details such as the tile, paint, crown molding and trim have gone up.

First Floor Plan
First Floor Plan

Stay tuned for an invitation in a few weeks for another opportunity to see Open House Chez Mona on Sunday, October 13, 2013. If you can’t wait, click here to RSVP and we’ll email you the address as the date gets closer.

You can sign up and use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

Have any questions? We are available to discuss your goals & ideas. There’s no fee or commitment. To request a time for a call, just click here and tell us when to call you.

Wine and Cheese at Kim’s Open House in El Cerrito, CA, on August 17, 2013

Kim's Cottage in El Cerrito, CA - Under Construction
Kim’s Cottage in El Cerrito, CA – Under Construction

New Avenue is holding an Open House at Kim’s Cottage in El Cerrito, CA, on Saturday, August 17, 2013 from 2PM to 4PM. RSVP below for the address!

The project is a 362-square foot accessory dwelling unit with that will have a bed, bathroom, and a kitchen and living area. This is a great time to see the “shell” unit and imagine what you can do with the space. Construction will be done in about a month. We’ll be serving some wine and cheese, so why not come hang out?

We had a nice turnout with the Chez Mona open house two Thursdays ago. We have another open house coming up this weekend. While Chez Mona was for Mona to live in, this little cottage is going to be rented out. However, the owners have put so much care into the finishes that we suspect they could move in themselves and call it home.

RSVP here and we’ll email you the address.

First Floor Plan
First Floor Plan

Feel free to share this invitation with others!

– The New Avenue Team
www.newavenuehomes.com

You can sign up and use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

Have any questions? We are available to discuss your goals & ideas. There’s no fee or commitment. To request a time for a call, just click here and tell us when to call you.

Cheeseboard at Chez Mona! Berkeley, CA, Open House – August 1, 2013

What: Join us next Thursday at Chez Mona’s for a tour of a Work-In-Progress backyard cottage.

Why:  Why Chez Mona and not Casa Mona?  Because it’s a block from Chez Panisse.   That means it’s also a block from Cheeseboard Pizza, Philz Coffee and Gregoire.   Are you wondering why should I go? Well, this is the finest backyard cottage Berkeley’s ever seen. Why else would I go? you ask.  Well, we will have a few snacks from Cheeseboard and that’s the finest pizza west of Buffalo.   Those pies are guaranteed to run out though, so come early!

When:  August 1, 2013, from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM. Why not wind down the day with a visit? Click here to RSVP, and we’ll email you the address!

Where:  We will confirm after you RSVP

Who:  Mona and her daughter, Lisa, teamed up with New Avenue to add this 1 bed, 1 bath, fully-featured 600-square-foot home behind the main house. The construction started mid-June and is about 30% done. The plan is have construction completed and Mona moved in around October.

More:  The family keeps a regularly updated blog on the progress of their project. Check out their blog for more pictures and story!

Construction Progress
Construction progress
Floor plan
Floor plan
Sample furniture layout
Sample furniture layout

You can sign up and use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

Have any questions? We are available to discuss your goals & ideas. There’s no fee or commitment. To request a time for a call, just click here and tell us when to call you.

Surprise New Location for Open House This Weekend – Two blocks from Sunset Magazine’s Celebration Weekend

Thanks to a gracious offer from one of our clients, we are moving our open house this weekend from the Palo Alto EcoHome to Erin’s In-Law Apartment in Menlo Park.  This home is just two blocks up Willow Road from the Sunset Magazine Celebration Weekend Festival. Last week we wrote about Erin’s project, and now construction is almost complete. If you’re wondering how an in-law unit or backyard cottage might work for your own home, come check out how this two car garage has turned into a beautiful small home.

Erin’s In-Law Apartment Open House
Saturday, June 1 – 1PM-5PM
Sunday, June 2 – 10AM-4PM
Close to Sunset Festival at 80 Willow Road, Menlo Park ,CA
RSVP for exact address: justin@newavenuehomes.com
Questions? Call: 818-714-0715

Please note that this is a private home. Do not disturb the homeowner and do not knock on the front door! Follow the path of green and white balloons to the project! RSVP for the address or call on the day of your visit. Parking could be a challenge this bustling weekend and we recommend you park west of Erin’s house or in nearby Palo Alto.

This event is not associated with Sunset Magazine or the Sunset Magazine Celebration Weekend Festival… it just happens to be a block away so it’s a perfect time for a visit to both.

The EcoHouse is still available for viewing the first Thursday of every month. Check the City of Palo Alto website for details. The next one is June 6th, 3-5pm.

You can sign up and use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

Have any questions? We are available to discuss your goals & ideas. There’s no fee or commitment. To request a time for a call, just click here and tell us when to call you.

Supporting ADUs at Berkeley City Council Meeting April 30, 2013

 New Avenue is going to be attending the City of Berkeley’s council meeting next week on April 30, 2013, to voice support for making it easier to develop and permit accessory dwelling units (ADUs). We are looking for a couple of people to join us at this event and speak about how this would help them. If you are interested, please contact us at  kevin@newavenuehomes.com.

***

From Councilmember Linda Maio’s council consent item:

ADUs (i.e., backyard cottages or second units) enable communities to grow internally as opposed to externally, providing more housing and a diversity of housing options without consuming any additional green space. Second units can help limit suburban sprawl, accommodate the demand for new homes (including much needed senior housing and those caring for current senior residents) and bring financial and environmental sustainability to families. ADUs provide an affordable opportunity to families of several generations to live close to one another.

Currently, aspects of Berkeley’s Municipal Code may be creating barriers to more widespread adoption of ADUs within city limits. Reasonable modification to city code may be able to eliminate these barriers and improve permitting times to allow for more ADUs to be built where they are needed in Berkeley. By supporting second units, the City of Berkeley can become a national example for this sustainable housing type.

Read what the proposed code modifications are from the consent item: Reducing Barriers to the Development of Residential Accessory Dwelling Units

You can sign up and use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

Have any questions? We are available to discuss your goals & ideas. There’s no fee or commitment. To request a time for a call, just click here and tell us when to call you.

New Avenue Honored as ‘Best for the World’ for Creating Most Overall Positive Social and Environmental Impact

Recognized with 66 Other Companies Across 20 Countries and 25 Industries As Leader in Redefining Success in Business

Recently, New Avenue was named “Best for the World” for creating the most overall social and environmental impact. 67 companies worldwide were recognized by the nonprofit B Lab, with the release of the second annual ‘Best for the World’ list. The B Corp Best for the World List honors businesses that earned an overall score in the top 10% of all Certified B Corporations on the B Impact Assessment, a comprehensive assessment a company’s impact on its workers, community, and the environment.

New Avenue is the leading marketplace for next generation homes. We strive to provide a streamlined solution to addressing housing shortages, underutilized or undervalued properties, social and familial isolation, and urban sprawl. The projects we have worked on include: backyard cottages, accessory dwelling units, attachments, renovations, and ADA-accessible units. Our clients have used them as their primary homes, guest houses, offices, rentals for supplementary income, and even classrooms for teaching music classes. Our integrated project delivery process makes it easy for you to clear the technical, legal, and financial hurdles you’ll face.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook! Also, we send out newsletters and share design ideas and stories of our clients on our blog. If you have friends, family, and co-workers who may be interested in our work, we would love to hear about their projects and how we could help them make it a reality.

* * *

Other highlighted companies include Roshan, Afghanistan’s leading telecommunications provider, One Pacific Coast Bank, a pioneer triple-bottom line, community development bank, and Cooperative Home Care Associates, the nation’s largest worker-owned cooperative, providing high-quality home care services to elders and individuals living with disabilities. The ‘Best for the World’ companies come from over 25 different industries and 20 countries. 30% of honorees are based outside the US, with 13 companies operating in emerging markets.

“A company’s revenue only tells half the story. Today’s most successful businesses must also create a positive social and environmental impact,” said Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of B Lab, the nonprofit organization that certifies B Corporations and governs the independent third party standard used to generate the comparable assessment of corporate impact. “These companies are competing to be not only the best in the world, but the best for the world.”

Each honored company is a Certified B Corporation, a new type of company using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. They have met rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Today there are over 700 certified B Corporations, across 60 industries and 25 countries, unified by the common goal to redefine success in business.

B Lab will release separate lists recognizing the companies ‘Best for the Environment’ (environmental impact), ‘Best for the Community’ (community impact), and ‘Best for Workers’ (employee impact) throughout the coming year.

B Lab is a nonprofit organization dedicated to using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.  B Lab drives systemic change through several interrelated initiatives: 1) building a community of Certified B Corporations to make it easier for all of us to tell the difference between “good companies” and just good marketing; 2) promoting benefit corporation legislation to create a new corporate form that meets higher standards of purpose, accountability and transparency; 3) driving capital to high impact investments through use of B Lab’s GIIRS Ratings & Analytics platform; and 4) helping all companies measure what matters through use of the B Impact Assessment, B Lab’s free confidential management tool for measuring a company’s impact on it’s workers, community, and the environment.   Learn more at bcorporation.net, benefitcorp.net, and giirs.org.

Check out the full list of the 2013 ‘Best for the World’ honorees here.

You can sign up and use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

Have any questions? We are available to discuss your goals & ideas. There’s no fee or commitment. To request a time for a call, just click here and tell us when to call you.