California laws taking effect Jan 1, 2021 allow more homeowners to build backyard cottages or accessory dwelling units (ADUs).
Cities and counties can have regulations but the regulations must have:
- No minimum lot size requirement.
- No required replacement parking when a parking garage is converted into an ADU.
- No required parking for an ADU created through the conversion of existing space or located within a half-mile walking distance of a bus stop or other public transit.
- No height limit under 16 feet or side/rear setbacks requirements over 4 feet.
- No setbacks requirements for conversions/replacements of existing legal structures.
- Floor area ratio (FAR) and similar restrictions must be relaxed to allow development of an 800 sq ft ADU.
- Design standards must be objective and are assessed by staff, not elected officials.
More details are available at Backyard Cottage, Accessory Dwelling Unit