Sacramento – State Senator Bob Wieckowski’s (D-Fremont) bill to reduce the barriers California homeowners face when seeking to build an accessory dwelling unit (granny flat) on their property will take effect this January after Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill today. The most extensive bill on accessory dwelling units to be signed in almost 15 years, SB 1069 eases regulatory burdens by eliminating excessive sprinkler requirements, providing several exceptions to parking restrictions, such as if the home is located within a half mile from public transit, requiring ministerial approval for the remodeling of existing homes and garages when they are compliant with building and safety codes, and making utility connection fees for brand new construction proportionate to the burden the accessory dwelling will place on the water or sewer systems.
In this project we’re adding an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) to a previously remodeled 50’s ranch/patio house. The brief has two primary requirements, the first is that the addition should function equally well as a guest house, as a home office, as a rental unit (with client occupying the main house), and as the client’s dwelling (with main residence as rental). As a corollary the ADU should be an expression of each of these uses (i.e., “office,” “guest house,” and “private dwelling”), it shouldn’t masquerade as simply another bedroom in a conventional single-family dwelling. The second is that the house as a whole must no longer look like a remodel. This goes back to when the house was redone in the 90’s, the client’s budget did not allow for a gable-roof area over the 1st floor living spaces to be adequately architecturally addressed. As a result the house never looked completely integrated or, for that matter, finished—it was a shotgun wedding of old and new. By subsuming the old gabled roof, along with a careful adjustment of previously remodeled areas, the new ADU will complete the house and make it a cohesive and coherent whole.