Q: Regarding your article “Contact the title officer over this unsettling easement issue,” published November 11, 2022, in The Mercury News and East Bay Times:
What we thought was our best neighbor is now plotting against us. We are living in a single-family neighborhood. We plan to turn our detached garage into an accessory dwelling unit (ADU). The detached garage is in the front of the property. Our next-door neighbor is making the neighborhood rounds to enlist support against our proposed ADU.
Could our neighbors rally against us and prohibit us from adding our ADU?
A: It is not likely. Recent California laws have been proactive in promoting the permitting and construction of ADUs. Conversely, many communities responded by making ADUs harder to build in their single-family home neighborhoods. As a result, a new law was passed to break down barriers to allow ADU permitting and construction.
As noted in the new law, you can convert your detached garage per section 65852.2 “(D) (iii): “The accessory dwelling unit is either attached to, or located within, the proposed or existing primary dwelling, including attached garages, storage areas or similar uses, or an accessory structure or detached from the proposed or existing primary dwelling and located on the same lot as the proposed or existing primary dwelling, including detached garages.”
The familiar covered parking argument is addressed with uncovered parking as stated in section 65852.2 (x) (I). “Parking requirements for accessory dwelling units shall not exceed one parking space per accessory dwelling unit or per bedroom, whichever is less. These spaces may be provided as tandem parking on a driveway.”
The neighbor might proclaim that an ADU cannot be in the front yard, but the new law states, “This bill would additionally prohibit a local agency from establishing limits on front setbacks.”
It is time to start conversations with your city’s planning department, architects, structural designers and contractors. It’s time well spent. There is no substitution for gathering the facts before a significant investment. Additionally, substitute the current fence with your disgruntled next-door neighbor during construction. Make it taller between buildings and extend it, slopping to a shorter height to the sidewalk. It’s true. Good fences make good neighbors, especially if you have a new ADU.
Questions, concerns or inquiries? Realtor Pat Kapowich is a Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager and career-long consumer protection advocate. His hometown of Sunnyvale, California, is where he is based. Office Landline: 408-245-7700, Pat@SiliconValleyBroker.com Broker# 00979413 www.SiliconValleyBroker.com