Want to build a granny flat in California? Here are the new rules – Orange County Register

Provisions of the state’s new “accessory dwelling unit” or granny flat law include:

  • Prohibits sprinkler requirements if they are not required in the primary residence.
  • Eliminates parking restrictions when the home is located within a half mile of public transit, within one block of a car-share area, is within a historic district or is part of an existing residence or structure. Tandem parking — or one car parked behind another — is permitted.
  • Requires city staff approval without discretionary review by a governing body like, for example, a city council, for remodeling existing homes. The new or converted unit must meet building and safety codes.
  • Connection fees for such utilities as sewer or water can’t be charged when the new unit is within an existing residence or structure, and new or separate connections can’t be required for new structures. Any connection fee must be reasonable and proportionate to the burden of the unit on the water or sewer system.
  • Increased floor area of an attached accessory dwelling unit shall not exceed 50 percent of the existing living area, with a maximum increase in floor area to 1,200 square feet.

Some of the changes by local cities include:

Unit size:

  • Lake Forest’s maximum unit size increased to 1,200 square feet, up from 640.
  • Garden Grove’s maximum unit size increased to 800 square feet, up from 700.
  • Anaheim’s maximum unit size was set at 900 square feet, with a maximum of 1,200 square feet in “estate density zones.”
  • Costa Mesa’s proposed new maximum unit size would decrease to 800 square feet, down from 1,200 because of reduced parking requirements.

Lot size:

  • Lake Forest limited units to lots with detached houses on them. The minimum lot size is 4,000 square feet.
  • Garden Grove’s minimum lot size decreased to 7,200 square feet, down from 9,000.
  • Tustin’s minimum lot size decreased to 10,000 square feet, down from 12,000 square feet.
  • Costa Mesa’s proposed new minimum lot size would decrease to…

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