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Draft resolution on accessory dwelling changes to move on to board of supervisors

A draft resolution amending Plumas County’s ordinance on accessory dwelling units was approved by the Plumas County Planning Commission at its Sept. 5 meeting.

The draft will move on to the Plumas County Board of Supervisors for final review and possible approval.

Planning held the required workshop Aug. 1 and then brought it back for draft approval in early September.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) come under a variety of names. They’re known as granny flats, in-law units, backyard cottages and other terms.

“No matter what you call them, ADUs are an innovative, affordable, effective option for adding much-needed housing in California,” according to information from the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

ADUs fall under Plumas County’s Title 9 code for planning and zoning. The proposed changes not only conform to state regulations, but also are in preparation of the 2019-2024 Housing Element.

In January 2018, new laws went into effect in California. ADUs are an attempt by the state to address inadequate housing.

“The Legislature further updated ADU law effective Jan. 1, 2018, to clarify and improve various provisions in order to promote the development of ADUs,” according to the state.

Under state regulations, ADUs are not intended for sale separate from the primary residence, but can be rented.

ADUs can be built in areas zoned residential and containing an existing, single-family dwelling.

They can be attached to the main house, detached, located on the same lot or above a garage.

The size of the ADU can’t exceed 50 percent of the existing area, with a maximum increase in floor area of 1,200 square feet, according to the state.

“No setback shall be required for an existing garage that is converted to an accessory dwelling unit,” according to state code. And they do not require fire sprinklers if not required in the primary structure.

In considering parking, no more than one parking space per unit or per bedroom is required.

At the time commissioners were considering code changes, Planning Director Tracey Ferguson said that she followed state recommendations for the process.

In January 2019, a new law stipulated that homeowners that built ADUs without a building permit were given an opportunity to come into compliance. Under the law, building officials can inspect any ADU and apply building standards that were in effect at the time the building was constructed.

Under the resolution as it will be presented to supervisors emergency shelters are also addressed. These must be added to the zoning ordinance for it to comply with state law.

Emergency shelters come under multiple-family residential zoning. This allows for them as a permitted use.

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