At the start of 2020, new legislative changes governing ADUs and secondary building units have gone into effect in California to promote more housing on existing single and multi-family residential lots. The most recent set of laws has removed many of the zoning obstacles like requiring off-street parking in most cases, and minimum lot sizes, however, this has led to emerging tensions between confused homeowners, contractors, and understaffed and underprepared permitting offices. The rules at the state level still need to be adopted and customized by jurisdiction, and cities and counties are in very different stages of adopting new policies with very different practices and resources for homeowners and builders.
In addition, ADU’s are required to pass the current residential building codes, however, some of these codes—especially California’s ambitious energy and green building codes—may need to be right sized for these smaller homes to be more accessible and comfortable to live in. In this session we explore how we might address some of these challenges and explore some best practices and approaches by welcoming three different perspectives on policies, planning and code for ADUs.
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Peggy is the Deputy County Manager for the County of San Mateo. She leads their task force for the Second Unit Center, a program to empower homeowners to build second units and help increase the affordable housing supply in the County.
“Over 70% of San Mateo County are single family. We have land available, we have equity available. And the thought was ADUs could very well be a solution for affordable housing.”
– Peggy Jensen
As the City of San Jose’s ADU Ally, Sarah helps guide homeowners and building professionals through the process of building an ADU and accessing the City’s pre-approved ADU designs, financing options and educational workshops.
“Education and helping homeowners understand where their money is going is really important. Homeowners want to know: how do I pay for it? How long is it going to take? How many professional teams do I need in my corner? And do I want to do this with all of this information?”
– Sarah Shull
Wes is Director of the LEED program team at the US Green Building Council. He leads the organization’s technical alignment with LEED and green building codes, and directs Materials and Resources activities for the USGBC.
“With climate change, codes have had to pick up new strategies and techniques, but that often means more complexity. California building code, which is one of the best in the world, has about 6,000 pages in it currently, but that is a lot to get through when you’re trying to build something fast.”
– Wes Sullen