When adding onto or significantly modifying your property, you will likely be required to obtain permits. Unfortunately, the permitting process in Santa Cruz County can be costly. According to this Sentinel Article, the average county Planning Department fees for accessory dwelling units less than 640 square feet are from $11,500 to $4,200. These high costs often disincentives homeowners from build accessory dwelling units (ADU’s). Things are changing. Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors have approved
When thinking of an ADU, many picture a small, free-standing building in the backyard. This kind of thinking may deter those with smaller lots from exploring the option of adding an ADU to their existing structure. This is a shame, given the additional rental income and living space that ADU’s often afford. The truth is, ADU’s come in all shapes and sizes, and under the right circumstances, even small lots can support them.
Previously, you needed a 4,500 square foot lot, or larger, to build an Additional Dwelling Unit (ADU), also commonly known as a granny unit. Now, any legally built unit within the existing footprint of your home can be turned into an ADU under new state law. This applies to new projects and conversions, so long as the unit is within the pre-existing structure and is build legally (meaning it was permitted and build to code).
In response to our state's housing shortage, Governor Brown has signed Senate Bill (SB) 1069, which will make it easier, and for some, less expensive to develop Additional Dwelling Unit's (ADU's). SB 1069 will require local governing bodies to loosen ADU regulation. Both Santa Cruz County and City have amended their ADU related ordinances. We report on major ordinance changes that the city has publicized. We also summarize County ordinance changes, which are still contingent on Coastal Commission