Sunnyvale is reviewing regulations for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), also known as “granny flats” or “in-law” units. An ADU is a small dwelling located on the same property as a single-family home, which includes its own kitchen/bathroom. It can be a part of the main home or a separate structure.
Sunnyvale’s current code places the following limits on ADUs:
- Minimum lot size 8,500 square feet
- Maximum unit size 700 square feet
- 1 bedroom maximum
- 20-year deed restriction requiring owner occupancy
This study will consider possible changes to allow more ADUs to be built, and to what standards. The concern is to allow residents to expand the housing supply while avoiding negative impacts to quality of life.
The State of California has declared that ADUs are consistent with single-family home zoning and density standards and considers ADUs to be a viable option to create more affordable housing in existing neighborhoods. ADU standards were recently liberalized state-wide. This study will also serve to reconcile Sunnyvale’s regulations with the new state standards.
Background on ADUs in Sunnyvale:
- From January 1996 to December 2016, 115 ADUs were permitted by the City and 78 of those permitted were built.
- Just 15% of the existing single family lots in Sunnyvale are large enough to meet the current development standards for ADUs.
- Map of Sunnyvale Single-family Zones
- You can review the current ADU development standards in this handout or in the Municipal Code (Chapter 19.68. Mobile, Accessory, And Single Room Occupancy Living Units)
Residents are invited to share their perspective on ADU regulations at http://sunnyvale.peakdemocracy.com/portals/209/Issue_5092
New regulations will be reviewed by the Housing and Human Services Commission in July, the Planning Commission in September, and City Council likely in October.