Wieckowski's ADU bill passes Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee

June 20, 2018

SACRAMENTO – State Senator Bob Wieckowski’s (D-Fremont) bill to make it easier for homeowners to construct accessory dwelling units (ADUs) to help address California’s housing crisis passed the Assembly Housing and Community Development today.

SB 831 contains several elements to make construction easier, including prohibiting owner-occupancy requirements, and exempting ADUs from lot coverage ratio calculations. It also creates an amnesty program that would ease the process of approving a pre-existing unpermitted ADU.

“Local jurisdictions have pushed these units into the shadows and SB 831 will provide homeowners with a pathway to get their pre-existing unit approved and up to code, so we know they meet health and safety codes,” said Wieckowski, a member of the Senate’s Transportation and Housing Committee. “I am committed to my on-going efforts to reduce prohibitive and exorbitant fees set up by local entities.”

A recent study published by the American Planning Association estimated that there are 300,000 unpermitted ADUs in the greater Los Angeles area alone.

“We believe that ADUs are a great tool to help with our housing crisis,” said Vianey Nava, Accessory Dwelling Units Program Manager for Housing Trust Silicon Valley. 

SB 831 is supported by the Bay Area Council.

“This bill is a local, local, local bill,” said Cornelius Burke, the Bay Area Council’s senior government relations director.  “It gives power back to the homeowner. You can’t get any more local than that.”

ADUs are affordable, cost less to build, are managed by a homeowner and require no public subsidy. Since Wieckowski’s first ADU bill, SB 1069, was approved in 2016, ADU permit applications have increased 63 percent in California. In some areas, such as Santa Barbara, applications increased by as much as 314 percent.

SB 831 will be heard in the Assembly Local Government Committee next week.

In addition to the Bay Area Council and Housing Trust Silicon Valley, the bill is supported by AARP, Silicon Valley at Home, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, California YIMBY, California Chamber of Commerce and the Non-profit Housing Association of Northern California, and a variety of other companies, environmental groups and associations.

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