What The Heck is an ADU?!

Have you heard the buzz?  California passed a law that makes ADU legal everywhere in California.

Which begs the question…

What the heck is an ADU and why should I care?

(the following quotes come from a Memorandum published by the California Department of Housing and Community Development )

An ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) is a secondary dwelling unit with complete independent living facilities for one or more persons – California Department of Housing and Community Development

Translation- if you own a home in a neighborhood zoned for single family homes you can add a unit that is a full living space. A space that could be lived in by “other than the homeowner”.

If you already HAVE an unpermitted guest unit, bonus room or converted garage- this law might allow you to make the space legal and permitted!

Why do we need this?!

Our housing shortage is critical. We are not adding enough new housing to meet the demand and lack of housing has all sort of consequences that will eventually erode every aspect of our lifestyle if not addressed.

A UC Berkeley study noted that one unit of affordable housing in the Bay Area costs about $500,000 to develop whereas an ADU can range anywhere up to $200,000 on the expensive end in high housing cost areas

Allowing homeowners to add an ADU is easier and more cost-effective way to add much-needed housing.

Who are we looking to house?

ADUs are a unique opportunity to address a variety of housing needs and provide affordable housing options for family members, friends, students, the elderly, in-home health care providers, the disabled, and others.

No one is expecting ADU’s to solve homelessness or house society’s unwanted. But, we all know families torn apart, physically, because affordable options for our young adults or aging relatives are not available.

What if I want an ADU?

This is a controversial law. It is statewide and was intended to supersede any existing local laws… but cities are racing to pass new laws in order to preserve their status quo.

Anyone who wants to add an accessory dwelling unit OR legalize an existing unit needs to get clarification on what is, and is not, allowable.

The waters are murky, at best, but DIGGS is here to help.

We invited Javier Mariscal and Arlene Edjourian to inform us and help us understand the current laws and regulations in Glendale, La Canada and La Crescenta-Montrose (LA County Unincorporated).We will also touch on the current situation in Los Angeles.

Arlene is principal (along with partner Katie Flores) of amk Studio and they are Glendale and LA grown, super talented architects who have navigated the choppy Glendale waters with spectacular results. amk Studio teamed up with Javier to launched a new service in 2017 designed to help homeowners explore, upfront, what is possible in a local municipality. They are the perfect solution for anyone looking to add, develop or build.

Find out what is possible. Ask questions about your specific situation. Explore legalizing your existing space!

We are not here to debate

We know this is a controversial issue. Intelligent and well-reasoned opinions exist both for and against the ADU law.

However, we are not here to debate that issue right now. We are neither for or against the ADU law- we are here to help our community navigate the waters as they exist right now.

If you have strong feelings and opinions about this subject and wish to effect change- we respect you, but this is not the place.


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