Chapter 14-23
ACCESSORY DWELLING UNITS AND JUNIOR ACCESSORY DWELLING UNITS*

Sections:

14-23.006    Purpose.

14-23.010    Definitions.

14-23.020    Maximum number of occupants.

14-23.030    ADU and JADU use standards.

14-23.040    ADU and JADU design standards.

14-23.050    Fire sprinkler standards.

14-23.060    Parking standards.

14-23.070    Nonprofit affordable ADU or JADU development.

14-23.080    Impact fees.

14-23.090    Utility connections.

14-23.100    Deferred code enforcement.

14-23.110    Restrictions.

*    Chapter 14-23, entitled “Accessory Dwelling Units,” consisting of Sections 14-23.010 through 14-23.040, codified from Ordinance No. 1162-03 C-M, effective October 23, 2003, repealed and replaced by Ordinance No. 1414-20 (CM), effective November 26, 2020.

14-23.006 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter establishes the development standards for permitting accessory dwelling units and junior accessory dwelling units within the City of Watsonville, in accordance with Section 65852.2, Section 65852.22, Section 65852.26 of the California Government Code, and Section 17980.12 of the Health and Safety Code, as amended by SB 13, AB 68, AB 587, AB 670, and AB 881, effective January 1, 2020.

(§ 1, Ord. 1414-20 (CM), eff. November 26, 2020)

14-23.010 Definitions.

(a)    “Accessory dwelling unit” or “ADU” shall have the meaning set forth in Section 14-18.324.

(b)    “Junior accessory dwelling unit” or “JADU” shall have the meaning set forth in Section 14-18.325.

(c)    “Occupant” shall mean a person or person(s) who permanently reside in a dwelling.

(d)    “Primary dwelling unit” shall mean the existing or proposed single-family dwelling located in a parcel meeting all development standards for the underlying zoning district.

(§ 1, Ord. 1414-20 (CM), eff. November 26, 2020)

14-23.020 Maximum number of occupants.

Occupants shall be limited to no more than two (2) persons for an efficiency dwelling unit as defined in Section 17958.1 of the Health and Safety Code, three (3) persons for a one-bedroom dwelling unit, four (4) persons for a two-bedroom dwelling unit, and five (5) persons for a three-bedroom dwelling unit.

(§ 1, Ord. 1414-20 (CM), eff. November 26, 2020)

14-23.030 ADU and JADU use standards.

(a)    The maximum permitted living area for ADUs in any residential district shall not exceed that shown in Table 1.

Table 1

Maximum ADU Living Area

Lot Size (SF)

Maximum ADU Living Area (SF)

Lots less than 5,999 SF

One 850 SF (maximum one (1) bedroom)

Lots less than 9,999 SF

One 1,000 SF (maximum two (2) bedrooms)

Lots greater than 10,000 SF

One 1,200 SF (maximum three (3) bedrooms)

Lots greater than 12,000 SF

One 1,200 SF (maximum three (3) bedrooms) or two (2) ADUs (maximum 750 SF and two (2) bedrooms)

(b)    The number of ADUs and JADUs on any one (1) parcel in any residential district shall not exceed the number shown in Table 2.

Table 2

Number of Permissible ADUs or JADUs

District

R-1

R-1P

RM-2/RM-3

ADUs Permitted

11

1

25% of number of units when converting a portion of an existing structure not used as livable space2 or up to two (2) new detached units

JADUs Permitted

1

1

One ADU and one (1) JADU if a single-family dwelling exists on the lot at time of application3

1    Subject to subsection (a) of this section. Townhomes and condominium units are not eligible for an ADU or JADU. Multifamily planned developments are not eligible for an ADU but can have a JADU subject to all requirements outlined in this chapter.

2    Conversion of existing multifamily dwelling structures must meet all applicable building and fire codes. A multifamily dwelling structure is a structure with two (2) or more attached dwellings on a single lot (i.e., apartment buildings). Multiple detached single-unit dwellings on the same lot are not considered multifamily dwellings. Multiple detached single-unit dwellings on the same lot are allowed one (1) ADU and must meet all requirements outlined in this chapter.

3    JADUs are permitted in an RM-2 or RM-3 or PD District only if the lot contains one (1) existing single-family dwelling.

(c)    The minimum setback distances for ADUs and JADUs on any one (1) parcel in any residential district shall be not less than shown in Table 3.

Table 3

Minimum Setback Distance

District

R-1

RM-2

RM-2/RM-3

Front yard

20'

Interior side yard

4'

Exterior side yard

10'

Rear yard

4'

Setback from alleyway

5'

(d)    The maximum building height for any ADU and JADU on any one (1) parcel in any residential district shall be not more than shown in Table 4.

Table 4

Maximum Building Height

District

R-1

R-2

RM-2/RM-3

Attached ADU

28'

Detached ADU

28'

Conversions of existing accessory structures

16'

(e)    A JADU shall be contained within a proposed or existing single-family dwelling and subject to a maximum size of five hundred (500) square feet of living space. An expansion to an existing single-family dwelling may include not more than one hundred fifty (150) square feet beyond the same physical dimensions as the existing single-family dwelling. Such expansion beyond the physical dimensions of the existing single-family dwelling shall be limited to accommodating ingress and egress. The JADU shall have its own exterior access separate from the existing single-family dwelling.

(f)    If the proposed ADU is attached to an existing dwelling unit, any increase in floor area of the dwelling unit to accommodate an attached ADU shall not exceed fifty (50%) percent of the existing dwelling unit living area or eight hundred fifty (850) square feet, whichever is less.

(g)    If the ADU is not attached to an existing dwelling unit but is attached to or above an accessory structure, that structure shall comply with subsections (g)(1), (2) and (3) of this section:

(1)    The accessory structure shall not contain any restroom facilities.

(2)    The attached accessory structure may have interior access to the ADU.

(3)    If a detached existing legally constructed accessory structure is converted into an ADU and rebuilt in the same location and to the same dimensions as the existing accessory structure, the conversion may include an expansion of no more than one hundred fifty (150) square feet beyond the existing physical building footprint to accommodate ingress and egress. The rebuilt accessory structure may be allowed in the same location so long as the building height does not exceed sixteen (16') feet. Any expansions to accommodate ingress and egress shall meet minimum fire and building code setbacks.

(§ 1, Ord. 1414-20 (CM), eff. November 26, 2020)

14-23.040 ADU and JADU design standards.

(a)    Exterior. The exterior design of the ADU or JADU unit shall be consistent with the principal residence and/or multifamily development as well as the immediate neighborhood. Building materials, architectural style, roof form and pitch, height, scale, exterior colors and finishes shall be substantially the same as the existing dwelling unit and/or the multifamily development.

(b)    Landscaping. No less than twenty (20%) percent of the lot shall be landscaped. All areas of the site that are not utilized for buildings, patios, parking, pedestrian or vehicular access shall be landscaped and provided with a permanent irrigation system. The front yard shall be landscaped, exclusive of walkways and driveways.

(c)    Private Open Space/Patios and Decks. Each ADU or JADU shall have a deck or a patio, directly adjoining individual units. The minimum private open space required for each unit shall be no less than ninety-six (96) square feet with a minimum width of six (6') feet for a deck/patio and eight (8') feet for landscaped area.

(d)    Access. The ADU or JADU entrance shall face the interior of the property unless the ADU or JADU is directly adjacent to an alleyway or a public street.

(e)    Window Design. Windows which face an adjoining residential property shall protect the privacy of neighbors; alternatively, fencing or landscaping shall be required to provide screening.

(§ 1, Ord. 1414-20 (CM), eff. November 26, 2020)

14-23.050 Fire sprinkler standards.

Except when the primary dwelling or existing multifamily structure does not contain a sprinkler system, all newly constructed ADUs and JADUs shall comply with Chapter 8-9 (Fire Code) for residential fire sprinkler systems.

(§ 1, Ord. 1414-20 (CM), eff. November 26, 2020)

14-23.060 Parking standards.

(a)    The main residential unit(s) shall comply with the City’s parking and loading ordinance in Chapter 14-17, except for conversions of existing covered parking to accommodate an ADU, covered parking shall not be required.

(b)    All ADUs shall provide one (1) parking space per unit or per bedroom, whichever is less, which space may be provided as tandem parking on an existing driveway apron.

(c)    No additional off-street parking required if converting an existing garage, carport, or covered parking structure.

(d)    No additional off-street parking required if converting an existing residential space.

(e)    No off-street parking shall be required if any one (1) of the following findings is made:

(1)    The ADU is within one-half (1/2) mile of a public transit bus stop.

(2)    The ADU is within an architecturally and/or historically significant district.

(3)    On-street parking permits are required but not available to the occupant of the ADU.

(4)    A car share vehicle is located within one (1) block of the unit.

(§ 1, Ord. 1414-20 (CM), eff. November 26, 2020)

14-23.070 Nonprofit affordable ADU or JADU development.

Development of an ADU by a nonprofit housing developer to create an affordable unit may sell the ADU separately. Such ADU shall meet all requirements of Chapter 14-46 (Affordable Housing Ordinance).

(§ 1, Ord. 1414-20 (CM), eff. November 26, 2020)

14-23.080 Impact fees.

(a)    Any ADU proposed to be less than seven hundred fifty (750) square feet shall not be subject to development impact fees (parks, traffic, etc.). For the purposes of this section, “impact fee” has the same meaning as the term “fee” defined in Section 66000(b) of the California Government Code, except that it also includes fees specified in Section 66477 of the Government Code.

(1)    ADUs over seven hundred fifty (750) square feet shall be charged impact fees proportionate to fees applicable to the primary dwelling, determined as a ratio of square footage. The ratio shall be determined by comparing the square foot living space of the ADU to the living space of the existing primary dwelling.

(§ 1, Ord. 1414-20 (CM), eff. November 26, 2020)

14-23.090 Utility connections.

Separate utility connections are not required for ADUs less than seven hundred fifty (750) square feet, unless the ADU is being constructed in conjunction with a new single-family dwelling.

(§ 1, Ord. 1414-20 (CM), eff. November 26, 2020)

14-23.100 Deferred code enforcement.

Until 2030, any ADU constructed without permits before January 1, 2020, that face code enforcement action may request a delay of up to five (5) years in enforcement so long as the illegally constructed unit complies with Section 17980.12 of the California Health and Safety Code. Additionally, a property owner may request amnesty from code enforcement if the property owner discloses the code violation to the City before January 1, 2030.

(a)    If the owner is requesting amnesty and/or a delay in code enforcement, the owner shall submit an application to the Building Official requesting that enforcement of the violation be delayed for five (5) years from the activation date of the code enforcement case, on the basis that correcting the violation is not necessary to protect health and safety.

(b)    The Building Official may approve the application for delay in code enforcement action if the Building Official finds that correcting the violation is not necessary to protect health and safety. In making this determination, the Building Official shall confirm with the Fire Marshal that the nonpermitted ADU/JADU does not constitute a threat to health and safety. The approval shall be granted with following conditions:

(1)    The unit shall be vacated before approval, verified by a site inspection.

(2)    All nonpermitted sewer and water lines shall be capped outside the building footprint of the unit. All nonpermitted electric service shall be disconnected.

(3)    The unit receiving a delay in code enforcement action must remain vacant for the agreed-upon term or until such time that the unit has been brought into full compliance with all development codes. Noncompliance with this section shall be subject to administrative citations as outlined in Chapter 1-2, Penalty Provisions.

(4)    If a property owner freely discloses the existence of a nonpermitted ADU or JADU before January 1, 2030, outside of any code enforcement action, the Building Official may reduce building permit fees for the legalization of the unit by fifty (50%) percent.

(5)    This section shall remain in effect until January 1, 2035, and as of that date shall be repealed.

(§ 1, Ord. 1414-20 (CM), eff. November 26, 2020)

14-23.110 Restrictions.

(a)    For construction of ADUs on vacant parcels, a building permit application shall be delayed until a building permit to construct the primary single-family dwelling has been issued.

(b)    The ADU, JADU, and/or the primary unit shall not be used as a short-term or vacation rental for less than thirty (30) consecutive days.

(c)    For all proposed JADUs, owner-occupancy in the single-family dwelling or the newly created JADU is required by deed restriction recorded at the County of Santa Cruz Recorder’s Office. Proof of recordation shall be provided to the City before building permit issuance. Owner-occupancy shall not be required if the owner is another governmental agency, land trust, or nonprofit housing organization.

(d)    A restriction on the sale of the ADU or JADU separate from the sale of the single-family dwelling, including a statement that the deed restriction may be enforced against future purchasers, shall be recorded with the County of Santa Cruz Recorder’s Office.

(§ 1, Ord. 1414-20 (CM), eff. November 26, 2020)