Guest Homes, Granny Flats, Studios Now Legal In Santa Barbara

In September 2106, Gov. Jerry Brown signed three new laws, Assembly Bill 2299, Senate Bill 1069 and Assembly Bill 2406. The legislation in these laws promote secondary dwelling units which now are referred to by most simply as accessory dwelling units (ADU's).

As of January 1st, 2017, this new California law went into effect and supersedes local city laws here in Santa Barbara, essentially allowing for small second residential units on single-family lots.

In Santa Barbara, this is currently a very hot topic that is being talked about in real estate circles, while the city is being inundated with questions and requests....and obviously applications.

So what is the framework for these new accessory dwelling units ?

From what we are learning, these new ADU's will be allowed to (potentially have to) have full or partial kitchens, bathrooms, can be attached or detached from the main house or potentially even carved out of living space inside the main residence.  As far as square feet, the law states that they can be up to 1,200 square feet in size.  We are also hearing there might be a minimum sqft. as well here locally.

Additionally, these ADU's will not be required to have a separate meter /  utility hookup.  Big for Santa Barbara is also the news that they can be legally rented.

Certain restrictions we imagine will hold steady such as height limits, lot coverage / open yard space, as well as certain zoning setbacks. We are hearing that existing garage or structures (granny flat etc.) within the current setback can be incorporated as new living space in an ADU, without having to comply with the setback requirement.

As of right now, it is definitely a learning process as the first ADU's cycle through the city system and receive full permits. No one seems to 100% know all the guidelines and what applicants are in actuality going to be given the OK.  Time will tell.

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For more information on Real Estate here in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Montecito and/or our surrounding areas, as well as any other aspects of life in our wonderful town, please don’t hesitate to contact Kevin Schmidtchen at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services.

Thank you for reading.  I hope you find Santa Barbara Real Estate Voice informative.  Please feel free to contact me or comment below with any thoughts.


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