Confusing Accessory-Dwelling Units Law: A Cautionary Tale

codewatcher accessory dwelling unit

A Palo Alto, Calif, 2017 ordinance sparks big questions about little dwellings.


According to Gennady Sheyner  in the Palo Alto Weekly when local officials changed the zoning rules for accessory-dwelling units (ADUs) last year, their goal was to encourage the construction of these little dwellings on residential lots throughout the city. But a word of warning to other municipalities intending to do the same thing: Make sure you have addressed how laws affect ADUs already built, new ones, and green codes. For example, in Palo Alto, the law essentially stipulated that a homeowner who had an old ADU on his property would have to tear down that unit or bring it up to code before making any improvements on his main house. Other issues also arose.