Wieckowski accessory dwelling units bill receives approval from Senate Governance and Finance Committee

April 10, 2019

SACRAMENTO – Senator Bob Wieckowski’s (D-Fremont) new bill to lower the costs of building accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in California to help address the housing affordability crisis passed the Senate Governance and Finance Committee this morning. SB 13 now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“SB 13 will make it easier for California homeowners to convert their garage into a living space or construct a small accessory unit in their backyards to provide more housing for seniors, college students, teachers and other workers,” said Wieckowski, a member of the Senate Housing Committee, who previously authored SB 1069 and AB 229, two bills that helped streamline ADU development in California. “It is focused on the barriers that continue to hinder the construction of ADUs – excessive development impact fees, restrictive owner-occupancy requirements and no pathways to bring unpermitted units up to code. By reducing fees, eliminating the owner-occupancy requirements and providing an amnesty process for unpermitted ADUs to meet health and safety standards, SB 13 will increase our supply of affordable housing.”

Supporters of SB 13 include the California Chamber of Commerce, Eden Housing, PrefabADU, SV@Home and the Bay Area Council.

“ADUs are a naturally affordable housing option that can assist both lower-income households and the “missing middle,” people who do not qualify for deed-restricted affordable housing but can’t afford the prevailing market rents,” said Leslye Corsiglia, executive director of SV@Home, a nonprofit housing policy and advocacy organization dedicated to creating affordable housing opportunities in the high cost Silicon Valley. “ADUs are the only housing type that can go from policy to permits to completion in less than a year. Unfortunately, development fees coupled with code standards deter willing homeowners from creating ADUs while others opt to do so without the proper permits. SB 13 addresses these issues and will help make the development of ADUs more affordable for homeowners.”

A 2017 report by University of California, Berkeley’s Terner Center of Housing Innovation state that development fees continue to prevent the construction of ADUs. ADUs are often charged the same impact fees as new homes. These fees can range anywhere between $5,000 and $60,000. This is true even though a homeowner building an additional bathroom or bedroom would not be charged. 

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