Wieckowski introduces new accessory dwelling unit bill to allow more homeowners to add housing on their property

January 8, 2018

Sacramento – Seeking to build on the success of two prior bills that have sparked a large increase in applications to build accessory dwelling units (ADUs), Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) introduced SB 831 to address remaining issues brought to light by Californians seeking to build an ADU on their property.

“I am very pleased, but not surprised by the increase in applications as a result of our drive to lower costs, reduce regulations and streamline the process,” said Wieckowski, a member of the Senate’s Transportation and Housing Committee.  “There is a lot of enthusiasm for ADUs among homeowners and many of them have contacted my office and the state Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) during the past two years to share the obstacles they are running into from local government agencies. While many local officials and planners have seized on ADUs as a tool to provide more local housing and address affordability and availability issues, there are still those who seek to delay or deny building these units.”

Since the passage of Wieckowski’s SB 1069 in 2016, applications for ADUs are way up in Los Angeles, San Diego, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and other cities across the state.  ADUs are smaller units, cheaper and quicker to build than a single-family home. They are often used by friends or family, or rented out at below market rates. They provide an opportunity for invisible infill units without any costs to the state.  

SB 831 builds on this success by taking several steps, including eliminating all local fees for an ADU; creating a temporary amnesty program to evaluate existing unpermitted units; holding local agencies accountable through the HCD;  and deeming ADU permit applications to be automatically approved if an agency has not acted upon the application within 120 days.

A recent report by the University of California Berkeley’s Terner Center of Housing Innovation highlights the progress made to date on ADUs and the harmful impact fees have on hindering development. 

Just like SB 1069 and SB 229, Wieckowski’s prior ADU bills, SB 831 is sponsored by the Bay Area Council. 

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