Council looks to fine-tune ADU legislation

Tomorrow afternoon, the Sustainability and Transportation Committee will take up the pending legislation aimed at loosening restrictions on ADUs. There are eleven potential amendments to the bill queued up for discussion and possible adoption.

Here are the amendments that will be reviewed (full details here):

  1. A technical amendment fixing typos, drafting errors and ambiguities in the draft bill.
  2. A request that the city provide additional educational materials about being a landlord to property owners when they apply for an ADU construction permits. This is in recognition of the fact that many ADU owners will be first-time landlords.
  3.  An expansion of the rear-yard coverage rules. The bill as introduced would allow single-story DADUs to cover up to 60% of a rear yard if it doesn’t result in removing trees over a certain size. The amendment would generalize that to all ADUs, not just single-story ones, and clarify the specific dimensions of protected trees.
  4.  A prohibition on short-term (i.e. AirBnB) rentals of any ADUs permitted after the effective date of the ordinance.
  5.  Incorporating a requirement that prior to applying for a permit for a second ADU, the property must be in continuous ownership by the same party for at least one year.
  6. Exempting up to 25 square feet of floor space from the floor-area restrictions as an allowance for indoor bicycle parking. The staff memo argues that since this would be nearly impossible to enforce, it would essentially just increase the allowed size for ADUs by 25 square feet. The amendment would also ask SDOT to explore ways to add additional public bike parking in residential neighborhoods.
  7. A request for SDCI to undertake an amnesty program for ADUs that were constructed without permits.
  8. An exemption to the ADU height limit to allow for handrails for roof decks.
  9. A request for a report back to the City Council on the Office of Housing’s pilot program for loans to low-income homeowners who wish to finish a basement or add an ADU.
  10. A request for a report on the use of ADUs for short-term rentals. This is perhaps an alternative to amendment #4 above, the prohibition on short-term rentals for new ADUS.
  11. A request that SDCI include in its annual reports on ADU permit activity additional data on the demographics of ADU owners and occupants, as well as the rent charged to ADU tenants.

Council member O’Brien said this morning that he hoped to vote the bill out of committee Tuesday afternoon, through it will be two weeks after that before it would come before the full City Council for final approval.