Governor signs Wieckowski's ADU housing bill

October 9, 2017

Sacramento – Yesterday, following up on a major reform bill from last year that streamlined the development of accessory dwelling units (ADUs), Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 229, legislation by Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) to clarify that limits on sewer and water connection fees and charges apply to special districts and water corporations, as well as cities and counties. 

Last year, Wieckowski, a member of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, successfully authored SB 1069 to eliminate the most onerous barriers to the construction of ADUs. 

“California law now requires ministerial review of ADUs, relaxes parking requirements, reduces duplicative fees, and grants automatic approval of a permit to create an ADU within an existing space on a lot,” Wieckowski said. “SB 229 furthers the important work of SB 1069 by making clarifications to carry out the intent of last year’s bill and encourage the development of these units free of excessive fees.”

As a result of the ADU reform bills, more residents are seeking permits to remodel their homes or build in their backyards.  Applications have skyrocketed in some cities across the state.  Los Angeles has received more ADU permit applications in 2017 than it has in the past five years combined. 

“The Bay Area Council sponsored SB 1069 last year because California’s housing shortage has reached crisis levels,” said Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council.  “If just 10 percent of Bay Area households adopted an ADU, we would increase our housing stock by 150,000 units.  SB 229 clarifies the language of last year’s bill and enables and empowers residents to quickly and easily provide a home to someone in their community who needs it.”

In addition to the Bay Area Council, a huge coalition, including AARP, the California Housing Consortium, the California Teachers Association, the East Bay Leadership Council, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and a number of environmental and affordable housing organizations supported last year’s major reform bill.

President Obama’s White House Housing Development Toolkit of 2016 cited California’s actions to reduce barriers and called for allowing more accessory dwelling units to help meet the affordable housing challenge.

“Accessory dwelling units offer one solution to this challenge by facilitating intergenerational living arrangements and allowing more seniors to age in place, something that nearly 90 percent of older Americans desire for themselves and their families,” the report said.

Senator Wieckowski represents the 10th Senate District, which includes southern Alameda County and northeast Santa Clara County.