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ADU over new construction garage

Discussion in 'California' started by JonB, Nov 6, 2019.

  1. JonB

    JonB Registered User

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    I'm hoping someone here can help me understand the code for California ADU's in respect to building an ADU over new construction, i.e, a new garage.

    My architect submitted plans for an ADU in July this year to be built in my backyard behind my 1 story house.

    The plan is to demolish an existing 1 car garage that is attached to the house and build a new detached garage with ADU above it in the backyard. The footprint for the garage is the same as the footprint for the ADU and is under 500 square feet. The open space and setback requirements have been met with the location of the project in the backyard. The City of Santa Barbara rejected the permit twice for various corrections. After the 3rd submission with final corrections, I fully expected to get approval but the city rejected it again. They now stated we would need to create two different projects and permit them separately. A permit for the garage to be built alone and then a separate permit to build an ADU above that garage after it is approved. If I permit them separately, the garage would need to shrink to meet the open space requirements and the ADU would have to either shrink as well or be built overhanging the garage.
    My understanding of the ADU code is that I'm allowed to build a garage with an ADU above as long as we meet the requirements set forth by the State of California for setbacks, open space, etc. Which we have done and provided to the city. I see other cities allowing this same scenario in California (For example, Pacifica, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles). I know cities are not allowed to be more restrictive then state laws in respect to ADU code so trying to understand if they are allowed to reject my permit and for me to do the projects separately. It will also cost me more money to redesign the plans and resubmit for two additional permits. If anyone here has had any experience building similar projects in California in respect to the code I would appreciate any information. Thanks.
     
  2. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Welcome

    And welcome to California

    Not sure why they are making you do two permits??

    Have you had a set down with the head of the department??
     
  3. e hilton

    e hilton Bronze Member

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    No answer for you but ... talking to a brick wall ... why couldn’t they have told you the first time that it would need separate permits.
     
  4. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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  5. JonB

    JonB Registered User

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    This was the response from the city zoning supervisor. I have not been able to get an appointment for a face to face yet. I'm hoping to understand if they are following the law prior to getting an appointment with them to see if I can get my plans approved without changing them. Just because they have a handout does not mean it is following the law or policy. I could not find anywhere in the California ADU laws where it says what they are doing is correct or allowed. "It's the city's position" does not mean it is legal or following the law provided. Applying for a modification costs more money ($1K+) and also there is no guarantee that it will be approved. The way they have been stonewalling this project I have no faith they would approve it.

    ***********

    Thank you for your email. I reviewed your plans with my plan checkers and I understand your position regarding the open reduction for a combined structure containing a garage and storage with an Accessory Dwelling Unit above. We were recently reminded by our City Attorney that it is the City’s position that all work unrelated to the Accessory Dwelling Unit should be on a separate permit from the Accessory Dwelling Unit. Our current Accessory Dwelling Unit handout says this:

    Combined Permits. Other than the abatement of related violations, or minor site work, an Accessory Dwelling Unit / Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit permit shall not be combined with other proposed construction unrelated to the Accessory Dwelling Unit / Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit. The Accessory Dwelling Unit / Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit cannot be added to an existing building permit or revision. Plans shall identify all other pending building permits for the project site.

    I understand that we gave you various options for how to proceed in previous plan check corrections, but it may not have been clear enough, so I apologize for not giving clearer direction on this subject sooner. I hope the following direction is very clear.

    You will be required to submit a separate building permit application for the proposed garage and storage. Since the garage and storage do not comply with the zoning ordinance open yard requirement, a modification will be required to permit the garage as designed. You may also choose to permit an Accessory Dwelling Unit without the garage; or propose an Accessory Dwelling Unit (on separate permit) over the garage after a modification is approved for the garage; or otherwise redesign your garage project to comply with the open yard requirements without a modification.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    I apologize again if previous direction was not clear enough.
     
  6. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Do an open records request for this:::

    “”We were recently reminded by our City Attorney that it is the City’s position that all work unrelated to the Accessory Dwelling Unit should be on a separate permit from the Accessory Dwelling Unit“”

    Plus request the ordinance/s that this applies to.

    So you can read it and see what it says
     
  7. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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  8. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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  9. JonB

    JonB Registered User

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    The cities record search online doesn't allow me to look for a particular line like that, but I was able to see that in 2019 there have been 54 applications for ADU's. The City has only approved 1 and has issued only 5 permits total in 2019 for ADU's. The other 48 are in pending state and several from as far back as March.

    I will have to go into the city and request the information you suggested and will do so. They do have an ordinance posted online in respect to ADU's but it does not cover it.

    The new ADU laws just signed in October that will go into affect in Jan 2020 cover the other link that you sent but still specifically do not call out an ADU over new garage as far as I can find. I did also email California Department of Housing and Community Development asking for clarification but have received no response yet.
     
  10. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Is this their hook::


    Combined Permits. Other than the abatement of related violations, or minor site work, an Accessory Dwelling Unit / Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit permit shall not be combined with other proposed construction unrelated to the Accessory Dwelling Unit / Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit. The Accessory Dwelling Unit / Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit cannot be added to an existing building permit or revision. Plans shall identify all other pending building permits for the project site.


    https://www.santabarbaraca.gov/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=211676
     
  11. JonB

    JonB Registered User

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    Yes, that's their hook to make me get two separate permits. But this statement is not law or policy it's just added in the handout. My thoughts are they are being more restrictive then the state laws for building an ADU over a garage. I'm hoping someone here has had experience with that or can help me understand if they are following state law.
     
  12. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    If all fails they do have an appeals process you can use
     
  13. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Will let those that deal with permits, if they are required to be an ordinance on when and how they should be required.

    I am going to recommend this be moved to Residential building codes
     
  14. e hilton

    e hilton Bronze Member

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    Ok ... so ... if the adu is on the second floor, clearly the first floor structure that supports it Is not unrelated.
     
    my250r11 likes this.
  15. Rick18071

    Rick18071 Sawhorse

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    What if you did not call the lower story a garage? Call it a closet or den with a large door. Or build the garage door after the building is finished, the header for it could be there already when the building is built.
     
  16. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    So to the ahj’s

    Are building permits, when required, are part of an ordinance or can the BO set the policy??
     

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