Legislature approves Wieckowski's final ADU bill

SB 897 to help homeowners build accessary dwelling units sent to Governor Newsom for his signature

August 31, 2022

SACRAMENTO — The California Legislature approved SB 897, Senator Bob Wieckowski’s (D-Fremont) final accessory dwelling unit (ADU) bill to help homeowners construct ADUs by removing unnecessary barriers that hinder develop. The bill now goes to Governor Newsom for his consideration.

“California has made substantial progress in eliminating burdensome requirements and excessive fees that for years prevented homeowners from building a cottage in their backyard or converting their garage,” said Senator Bob Wieckowski, who has now authored four ADU bills that have passed the Legislature. He is termed out of the Senate at the end of November. “Still, some obstacles remain. This bill addresses them and will enable more families to proceed with building their own units for their children, rental income, a caregiver or an aging senior.”

SB 897 will prohibit a local agency from denying a permit for an unpermitted ADU built before 2018 unless there is a health and safety violation. It also provides more streamlining for permitting and constructing ADUs and gives more flexibility on height restrictions. The bill is supported by a vast coalition of affordable housing organizations, business associations, rental housing proponents, and building and senior associations.

“The Bay Area Council was proud to sponsor this measure and work with the Senator and his team to remove barriers to ADU production in the state of California,” said Jim Wunderman, the Bay Area Council’s president and CEO. “We have been working with Senator Wieckowski to make it easier for homeowners to build ADUs since 2015 and thanks to his vision and leadership we may see as many as 20,000 of these small affordable homes permitted in California this year.”

ADUs allow homeowners to provide additional, and generally more affordable, housing. They are less expensive to build, use fewer building materials and consume less energy.

SB 897 is sponsored by the Bay Area Council. In addition to the Bay Area Council, it is also supported by California YIMBY, AARP, SPUR, Housing Action Coalition, California Building Industry Association, California Apartment Association, Silicon Valley@Home Action Fund, Terner Center for Housing Innovation, Fremont for Everyone, CalRHA, Meta, CivicWell, the WellNest Company, South Pasadena Residents for Responsible Growth, Southern California Rental Housing Association, MidPen Housing Corporation, among many other organizations.

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