What is an ADU?
Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are independent dwelling units with complete provisions for sleeping, cooking, and sanitation. ADUs may be attached or detached from primary dwellings. These types of dwelling units are subordinate to the main dwelling on site and are permitted to be constructed on properties with existing or proposed single-family dwellings pursuant to State law – Government Code Section 65852.2.
What is a JADU?
Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs) are semi-independent dwelling units that have partial provisions for sleeping, cooking, and sanitation. JADUs are internal conversions of existing spaces within primary dwellings or ADU structures. An addition of up to 150 square-feet in area may be permitted to accommodating ingress and egress for existing structures only. The JADU shall not exceed the maximum allowable floor area for either the primary dwelling or ADU. Please see Government Code Section 65852.22.
Planning Approval Time Lines:
State law requires a jurisdiction to act on an ADU or JADU application within 60 days. Should the City not take action before the 60 processing period, the ADU application is approved by default. This does not apply to incomplete submittals. Planning Staff will notify you if your application is deemed incomplete. However, Planning Staff typically reviews and approves ADU/JADU projects within two weeks time. Once the permit is approved, the applicant may apply for the Building Permit posthaste, as ADUs are not subject to appeal.
Updated State Law
In order to streamline the review process and help expedite ADU approval, several changes to state law were made in 2020, including:
- Larger ADU sizes - Changes to State law require local jurisdictions allow at least 800 sq. ft. ADUs on residential parcels.
- Straight to Building Permit - ADUs which meet a certain criteria may proceed straight to Building Permit without requiring an ADU Permit with the Planning Division. Please see ADU Handout for more information.
- Parking Requirements -Compared to State Law, the City of Albany is more permissive with parking requirements. No off-street parking is required at all for ADUs within Albany.
- Fire Sprinklers - If the main dwelling does not currently have a fire sprinkler system, the ADU will not be subject to installing a system.
- Utility Hook-Ups - Separate utility hook-ups for ADUs are considered voluntary and are not required, as the second unit can be tied into the main dwelling.
Building an ADU? Go all-electric.
- Save on costs for new construction
- Improve indoor air quality
- Enhance earthquake safety
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas
Save money on new construction.
Forgoing the installation of gas lines in all-electric new construction homes saves $7000 on average. While this number differs for detached ADUs, as gas lines are only run from the ADU to the meter, there is still an overall expected cost savings on newly constructed ADUs.
Save even more by adding solar to your ADU.
Installing solar will reduce your electricity bill and protect you from rising energy costs. With net metering, solar system owners are paid when they provide excess energy generated from solar panels to the grid. Installing solar panels produces thousands in energy savings for an ADU over the lifetime of the solar panels.
Improve Indoor Air Quality
Natural gas stoves and appliances release carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde, and other ultrafine particles that can affect respiratory health and cause other issues, such as headaches and nausea. Switching to an electric stove and electric appliances greatly improves air quality in the home.
Enhance Earthquake Safety
One in every four fires after and earthquake results from damaged gas lines. Help make your home safer and more secure in the event of an earthquake by going all-electric.
Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Natural gas combustion in residential and commercial uses accounts for 12% of California’s emissions each year. All-electric new construction ADUs and single family homes will run on 100% carbon-free electricity and produce zero carbon emissions due to Albany's partnership with EBCE.
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