Permit Rules for a Master Bedroom, Master Bath Remodel and Guest House Addition in San Mateo, CA

Permits are always complicated in San Mateo, CA.  A large remodel that is approximately halfway through counstruction as of October 2016 started with permit research in 2014.

  • Design Proposal Accepted: 8/2014
  • Building Permits Approved: 3/2016
  • Construction Started: 3/2016 (18 months of design and permitting)
  • Expected Completion: 1/2017 (9 months to build)

The detailed planning research that a New Avenue partner architect completed in 2014 is shared here for research purposes. We can guarantee your project will be different.

Richard Patenaude, 650-522-7212, Wednesday, September 24, 2014 ,4pm phone call

Q: What is the zoning district?

A: R1-C

Q: What is the allowable coverage? How is it measured?

A: 3,375sf: (.5×6000)+(.2×1875) Please note the the County Assessor has this parcel at 7,700sf not the 7875sf noted on the As-builts. Since this results in a delta of 35sf it is probably not relevant. However, if we can have the AsBuilt provide a “closed” parcel diagram, they will accept our number. The As Builts have the house at 2010s and 110sf “exterior” space

Q: Is there a floor-area ratio (FAR) between the Main Home and the Second Unit? What is it?

A; The accessory building must be can not occupy more than 50% of a required rear yard. It must be separated from the main house by at least 4′.

 

Q: What is the maximum allowed size for the Second Unit?

A: Unlimited for an accessory building but see above

 

Q: Do chimneys, window boxes, and/or bay windows count toward the square footage of the Second Unit?

A: yes

 

Q: Do other structures count toward the existing footprint? What are they?

A: Covered porches over the 100sf credit, garages and carports and other structures enclosed on 3 or more sides

 

Q: Does the basement and/or attic count toward the floor area of the Main Home?

A: yes…through a complicated formula: Sec 27.04.200 (4) San Mateo Zoning Code: (c) Measurement, for single family dwellings in R1 zoning districts, shall include the following: (1) All area enclosed within the walls of the principal structure (measured from the outside perimeter of said walls). (2) The area of all accessory structures, including garages, carports, and storage sheds, and covered patios, porches (excepting covered porches of up to 100 square feet), and other similar structures that are enclosed on three or more sides. (3) Any interior space where the vertical distance between the upper surface of the floor and the floor above is 15 feet or more shall be counted as twice the floor area. If there is no floor above the space, then the distance shall be measured to the underside of the roof structure. (4) Attic space is considered floor area when area “A” is at least 50% of areas “A” and “B” combined in the following plan-view diagram: Area “B” (ceiling height between 5’ and 7’ 6″) Area “A” (ceiling height 7’ 6″ or greater) Area “B” (ceiling height between 5’ and 7’ 6″) (5) A basement is considered floor area and a story when more than one half the area of the outermost basement walls are above finished or pre-existing grade (whichever is lower) and the surface of the finished floor level above is either: (A) More than 4 feet above finished or pre-existing grade (whichever is lower) for more than fifty percent of the total perimeter, or (B) More than 12 feet above finished or pre-existing grade (whichever is lower) at any point. (d) Off-Street Parking and Loading. Floor area for determining off-street parking and loading requirements as contained in Chapter 27.64, shall be based on physical floor space and shall not include the following: (1) Storage areas except for areas located within selling or working space such as counters, racks, and closets; (2) Utility areas including, but not limited to, elevator shafts, telephone switching rooms, stairwells, rest rooms, and heating and cooling rooms; (3) Accessory facilities to be used only by employees of the principal uses; (4) Off-street parking and loading facilities, including aisles, ramps, and maneuvering space; (5) Basement, attic, or mezzanine floor area other than area devoted to retailing activities, to the production of processing of goods, or to business or professional offices. (6) Floor area designated for day care centers accessory to and intended to serve a multi-family, commercial, office or manufacturing use. Such floor area may be located within the primary structure or may be in a freestanding structure accessory to the primary structure. (7) Floor area computed for building volume. Additional parking shall be required in the event of change of excluded floor areas into uses generating parking. (e) Interpretation. All interpretations of floor area shall be subject to the review and approval of the Zoning Administrator. (f) No change in the definition or calculation of floor area, except to the extent that the City Council expressly states that the change allows greater floor area, shall be construed to authorize an expansion of the allowable floor area of a building or structure, whether pursuant to Chapter 27.72 or otherwise. (Ord. 2009-7 § 5, 2009; Ord. 2002-10 § 1; Ord. 2001-36 § 2; Ord. 2000-2 § 1, 2000; Ord. 1995-15 § 2, 1995; Ord. 1994-2 § 3 & 4, 1994; Ord. 1992-15 § 4, 1992; Ord. 1989-18 § 1, 1989; Ord. 1985-17 § 9, 1985; Ord. 1982-22 § 9, 1982; Ord. 1981-27 § 12, 1981; Ord. 1979-26 § 2, 1979; Ord. 1978-18 § 25, 1978: prior code § 142.01(66,67,68)).

 

Q: Can the Accessory Dwelling have two floors?

A: Accessory buildings: due to the location in the rear yard there are height restrictions which prevent stories

 

Q: Can the Accessory Dwelling  have a loft, mezzanine, open storage, closed storage, and/or attic?

A: yes, see above: max height 16′

 

Q: Can the loft be habitable space?

A: no

 

Q: Can the Second Unit have a basement, workspace, or other area? Do they count toward square footage?

A: accessory building: yes for the basement

Q: What landscaping requirements and exceptions are there

A: none

Q: Is this a liquefaction zone?

A: no

Q: Is this a fire zone?

A: not sure

Q: Is this a flood zone?

A: no

Q: Is this an environmental zone?

A: not sure

Setbacks and Dimensions

Q: What is the front setback?

A: 15′ but 20′ for a garage (project is non-complying)

Q: What are the side setbacks?

A: 5′ (current house non complying at garage and BR#1

What is the rear setback?

15′ for single storey, but see exceptions for 27.18.100 (c): 27.18.090 REAR YARD. A rear yard of not less than fifteen (15) feet shall be provided; a rear yard not less than twenty-five (25) feet shall be provided for new construction above a single story. (Ord. 1992-16 § 10 (part), 1992; Ord. 1985-17 § 28, 1985; Ord. 1978-18 § 84, 1978: prior code § 146.02(G)(6)). image006.jpg image007.jpg 27.18.100 STRUCTURES AND BUILDING PROJECTIONS IN REQUIRED YARDS. (a) The following structures, building projections and features shall be permitted in all yards: (1) Arbors and trellises, having a maximum height of eight (8) feet, except in no case shall any such structure be used to cover driveways located in required setbacks in the front 2/3 of the property; (2) Awnings, canopies and covered patios, having a maximum height of eight (8) feet; (3) Basements completely below grade; (4) Eaves, projecting a maximum of three (3) feet of fifty percent (50%) of the required yard width, whichever is less; (5) Chimneys, solariums, greenhouse windows and oriel bay windows projecting two (2) feet or less into the yard, provided that the outside face of the projections shall be at least three (3) feet from the property line; (6) Balconies and decks projecting two (2) feet or less into the yard, excluding projections into interior side yards above the first floor, and provided that the outside face of the projection shall be at least three (3) feet from the property line; (7) Flag poles, garden ornaments and play equipment; (8) Steps which are necessary to provide access to the first floor of a permitted building, or to a parcel from a street or alley; (9) Uncovered decks which do not exceed eighteen (18) inches in height within five (5) feet of property lines or thirty (30) inches elsewhere in required yards; (10) Open parking spaces within a rear yard. (b) The following structures, building projections and features shall be permitted in front yards: Covered porches projecting two (2) feet or less into required front yards, and only when the required yard meets current yard setback requirements. The projection into the required yard may not be enclosed with walls or other material. The projection shall not exceed 50% of the width of the house as measured at the front property line, (c) Location of detached accessory buildings. A detached accessory building located within the rear one-third of a parcel is exempt from the requirements for interior side and rear yards, provided that such structure: (1) Shall be separated from the principal building by a distance not less than four (4) feet in width that is open to the sky, and (2) Shall not exceed a height of nine (9) feet to the plate line and sixteen (16) feet to the roof peak, and (3) Shall not extend above or beyond a daylight plane having a height of nine (9) feet at each side and rear property line and extending into the parcel at an angle of forty-five (45) degrees, excepting eaves and flues, and (4) Shall be limited to one habitable floor on the ground level. Habitable floor for the purposes of this subsection shall mean that served by permanent access and containing windows and/or plumbing fixtures, but shall exclude basements. image008.jpg (d) Maximum coverage of required rear yards. Accessory buildings shall not occupy more than fifty (50) percent of a required rear yard. (Ord. 2009-7 § 17, 2009; Ord. 2006-9 § 1 (part), 2006; Ord. 1992-16 § 10 (part), 1992).

What are the required setbacks to the Main Home?

4′

Q: What are any other required setbacks? Special setbacks may be needed for creeks, power lines, key or corner lots, etc.

A: N/A

Q: Are there any setback exceptions?

A: noted above

Q: Can the Second Unit be connected to the Main Home? If not, how far apart do they have to be?

A: no

Q: Can we continue a wall of an existing structure within a setback? Is there a maximum length for walls

A: see above

Q: What is the maximum height limit? Is there a max average height limit? Can we match the height of the existing house?

A: on the prop line: 9′ to plate and 45 degrees to 16′ max

Parking

Q: Do we measure from the sidewalk, the property line, or from somewhere else?

A: we can only do an accessory building since we can not provide parking for a second unit. An accessory unit can have 2 plumbing fixtures, but no kitchen

Q: How many parking spaces are required for the Main Home? Sizes? Do they need to be covered? What configuration or access must they have?

A: N/A

Q: How many more new spaces are required for the property? Sizes? Do they need to be covered? What configuration or access must they have? Do they require a border around them?

A: N/A

Q: Is there a turning radius or other parking rule to test?

A: N/A

Enter any additional notes.

Note that the exact location of the rear yard on this odd shaped lot is not entirely clear although the Planner did say that the existing rear yard shed is definitely in the rear yard.
For a detailed budget of this project, floor plans or to use the free New Avenue project management system you can sign up 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.

Planning and Building Permits Required For a Kitchen Remodel, Master Bath and Bedroom Addition in San Rafael, CA

At New Avenue we have paid over 30 different types of permits to get residential projects approved.

We recently completed a conversion of a nearly 100 year old duplex back to it’s original single family home while also adding a two story addition for a master suite, master bath and nursery for a baby who arrived during the remodel.

This is a summary of the permitting requirements in San Rafael.  An unusually fast office for any city, let alone Marin County!

We guarantee your project will be different!  This is a great starting point if you are researching.  Most people have never heard of all these permit requirements.

Here are our findings:

http://acm.cityofsanrafael.org/Assets/CDD/Planning+Forms+and+Handouts/Second+Unit+Handout.PDF

Q: What is the zoning district?

A: R5

Q: What is the allowable coverage? How is it measured

A: 40%

Q: Is there a floor-area ratio (FAR) between the Main Home and the Second Unit? What is it?

A: Second dwelling unit can be up to 40% of the gross square footage of the principal dwelling, not including the garage, but can be at least 500 square feet.

Q: What is the maximum allowed size for the Second Unit?

A: The maximum size is 800 square feet, unless a Use Permit is granted, which can allow a maximum size of 1,000 square feet.

Q: Do chimneys, window boxes, and/or bay windows count toward the square footage of the Second Unit?

A: No

Q: Do other structures count toward the existing footprint? What are they?

A: No

Q: Does the basement and/or attic count toward the floor area of the Main Home?

A: No

Q: Can the Second Unit have two floors?

A: If located in a detached accessory building, the height limit is 15 feet unless a Use Permit is granted.

Q: Can the Second Unit have a loft, mezzanine, open storage, closed storage, and/or attic?

A: Yes

Q: Can the loft be habitable space?

A: Yes

Q: Can the Second Unit have a basement, workspace, or other area? Do they count toward square footage?

A: Yes

Q: What landscaping requirements and exceptions are there

A: None that are known

Q: Is this a liquefaction zone?

A: No’

Q: Is this a fire zone?

A: No’

Q: Is this a flood zone?

A: No’

Q: Is this an environmental zone?

A: No’

Setbacks and Dimensions

Q: What is the front setback?

A: 15′

Q: What are the side setbacks?

A: 5′

Q: What is the rear setback?

A: 10′

Q: What are any other required setbacks? Special setbacks may be needed for creeks, power lines, key or corner lots, etc.

A: There is a creek running through a culvert underneath part of the property. i believe there is some easement regulation for that.

Q: Are there any setback exceptions?

A: None that are known

Q: Can the Second Unit be connected to the Main Home? If not, how far apart do they have to be?

A: N/A

Q: Can we continue a wall of an existing structure within a setback? Is there a maximum length for walls

A: N/A

Q: What is the maximum height limit? Is there a max average height limit? Can we match the height of the existing house?

A: 15 feet or Use Permit if that is exceeded

Parking

Q: Do we measure from the sidewalk, the property line, or from somewhere else?

A: TBD

Q: How many parking spaces are required for the Main Home? Sizes? Do they need to be covered? What configuration or access must they have?

A: Depends on requirements for making that a single family home again. Per City of San Rafael, we would not need to change anything about the existing parking for that.

Q: How many more new spaces are required for the property? Sizes? Do they need to be covered? What configuration or access must they have? Do they require a border around them?

A: 1 uncovered

Q: Is there a turning radius or other parking rule to test?

A: No

 

For a detailed budget of this project, example floor plans or to use the free New Avenue project management system you can sign up 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.

A Couple Inspiring Remodels

Many people may view Accessory Dwelling Units as unusual and creative living spaces, somewhere between a home, an apartment, and a vacation cottage.  In some cases we agree with those people and part of the fun behind owning a New Avenue home is that they are pretty unique structures.  However, New Avenue homes do not compare to how creative and unique the following fantastic home remodels are.  We find inspiration in these homes and hope that our readers do as well.

1912 Schoolhouse Cabin:

This home remodel began in 2006 when a Midwestern family found the perfect fixer-upper to turn into their weekend getaway cabin.  The schoolhouse was bought in a relatively dilapidated state, but the couple quickly remodeled the old classroom into a living room and kitchen area, all with the original chalkboard left on the wall.

(Dwell.com)

SoCal Barn Turned Home:

A 700 sq. ft. barn in Costa Mesa, CA has had several different lives.  It was first a home for chickens, then a workshop for a boat builder, and now it’s a home for a family of four.  The barn renovation was meant to retain much of the structure’s original charm with some modern living upgrades.

(LA Times)

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.

Passive House Concept

The Passive House Institute (Passivhaus Institut) is a distinctly German independent research institute that focuses on the development of the Passive House concept.  This concept is the only internationally recognized, performance based standard in the construction industry.  The Passive House Institute performs research into new building materials, products, and performs certifications worldwide.  To become Passive House certified a building must meet several performance standards.

Important Performance Standards: 

Heating Demand

  • Less than or equal to15  kWh/m^2 annually
  • Or less than or equal to 10 W/m^2
Cooling Demand

 

  • Less than or equal to 15 kWh/m^2 annually
  • Or less than or equal to 10 W/m^2
Primary Energy

 

  • Less than or equal to 120 kWh/m^2 annually
Airtightness

 

  • Less than or equal to 0.6 ACH50 (Air Changes per hour pressurized at 50 pascal)

Although there are several more specific standards for what materials and devices may / must be used in homes that hope to be Passive house certified, these performance standards are the most well known.

Construction Principles:

(Passivhaus Institut Website)

A Passive House must have high quality insulation, and this includes doors, windows, and every other surface exposed to the outside.  Since Passive House construction calls for such an airtight home, it is necessary that there is ventilation to to ensure an adequate supply of fresh air.  To accomplish this without losing all the energy used to heat that circulating air, these homes use a device called a heat recovery ventilator (HRV).  The HRV draws fresh air into the home while extracting the heat from the exhaust air and transferring that energy to the fresh air being brought in.

Lastly, the home must be built with careful attention to thermal bridging, which occurs when something with a low insulation value (structural framing, for example) is allowed to bypass wall insulation and transfer the heat energy from the home to the outdoors.  A well-designed Passive House minimizes thermal bridges.

Impact on Performance:

The Passive House Institute website states that employing the Passive House concept will result in 90% energy savings compared to the average home in central Europe, and about 75% energy savings compared to a newly constructed home in Central Europe.

The Passive House concept is not limited to residential construction.  A Passive House hotel was built in the small town of Torbole, Italy.  This hotel meets the rigorous Passive House standards and allows the public to experience a night in a Passive House so they can decide if they would like to invest in either building a new one for themselves or retrofitting their existing home to Passive House standards.

(zephir.ph)

How the Passive House Concept Stacks Up:

In America we are used to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification when it comes to energy efficiency and green construction.  The main difference between LEED and Passive House is that LEED is built on a point system where varying levels of points will get you different levels of certification (LEED Gold, Platinum, etc.).  This can be an issue because a building could have average efficiency, but become LEED certified based on other factors like having a sustainable site and an innovative design process.

With Passive House certification there is never an issue with hiding efficiency since the certification process is based on fulfilling all of the requirements rather than simply getting enough points from a wide list of different possible checkpoints.

If you were directed to this article from the “Like It’s Not Even There: Net Zero-Energy ADUs” blog article, then you know some of the complaints that people have with the idea of net zero-energy homes.  Namely, that some net zero-energy homes are averagely efficient, but simply put enough solar PV panels on the roof to make up for that fact.  With a Passive House building it’s easy to use very few solar panels to reach net zero-energy.

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.