The city of Santa Cruz has struggled with affordability and growth for years. In 2002, the city adopted an Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance in order to preserve the local greenbelt while accommodating new growth, transit and affordable housing. The ordinance permits ADUs by-right in designated residential zones and waives development fees for ADUs made available for low- and very low-income households. To support the goals of the ordinance, the city also established an ADU development program that provided technical assistance, a wage-subsidized apprentice construction program and an ADU loan program. In addition, the city published an ADU Manual, and an ADU Plan Sets book, which allows the homeowner to choose a pre-approved ADU design and receive permits in an expedited manner.

Zoning changes have been particularly important to facilitating ADUs in Santa Cruz. Most significantly, the city exempted homes with ADUs from the covered parking requirement, thus allowing homeowners to convert their garages to ADUs. Additionally, the city allowed tandem parking and parking in the front yard setback. In 2014, the city further modified setback requirements, decreased the minimum lot size from 5,000 square feet to 4,500 square feet and allowed exemptions for illegal ADUs in order to bring them into compliance.

For More Info:

Alex Khoury, City of Santa Cruz Planning and Community Development
Email: [email protected]