On Tuesday, the Oakley City Council in a 4-1 vote approved its pre-approved Accessory Dwelling Unit program that aims to make adding units more cost effective and streamlined for residents.
This program is for residents who want to add small, secondary residents on their properties—often called granny flats or homes used as rentals on lots of existing homes. Several state laws in the past few years have expanded ADU’s to help solve the states housing crisis.
The city was awarded a $50k grant for the program through money tied to Senate Bill 2 and according to Ken Strelo, principal planner, the program had been a year in the making.
“The whole idea is to provide a streamlined process for the public to possibly building an accessory dwelling unit on their property. It can be a strenuous exercise that could include shopping around for pre-fabricated homes, modular homes and/or having an architect design a home,” explained Strelo. “This program does all the front work for them.”
Strelo explained that within the program, there are four pre-approved for plans:
- 500 SF – 1 bedroom/1 bath, allowed by right, no impact fees
- 850 sf – with 1 bedroom/1 bath
- 1,000 sf – with 2 bedrooms/1 bath
- 1,200 sf – with 2 bedrooms/2 bath. Only allowed on “estate lots/large lots per existing code.
He explained that through Senate Bill 13 and multiple Assembly Bills 68, 587, 670, and 881, the laws were aimed at creating more ADU’s—thus, the city applied through SB 2 for planning grant which was the program they were presenting Tuesday.
Within the program:
- Master Construction Drawings: allows architect/contractor access to the plans and provides everything they need to build the home. They have already been approved and meet building code—ready to go plans that are free.
- Guide to Accessory Dwellings: allows applicants to go through step-by-step guide checklist.
- Building Permit Application for Accessory Dwelling Units: specific to ADU’s.
- Internal Policy Document: helps staff understand the program
- Website Language: new links to be added to website.
With city council approval, the program will be initiated within the next 90-days and should be ready for residents in early 2022.
Councilmember Anissa Williams said this program will make a huge difference to those who want to build from the ground up but asked for clarification for those who wanted a prefabricated home.
Strelo explained the program was to make it easier, but to encourage people to meet the design guidelines. He said there is potential for a prefabricated building, but it might not be consistent with design guidelines. He hoped that under this program, it would be cheaper for residents rather than going out and getting the prefabricated home when it was all said in done in terms of costs and permitting.
“I love the program, I think its awesome and will be super beneficial to our residents,” said Williams.
Councilember Aaron Meadows called this is a great program that would be beneficial to the citizens of Oakley if they go with one of the four designs to speed up the process and make it cheaper.
Vice Mayor Randy Pope questioned the size of the two larger units calling them homes while referencing the first home he bought in Livermore was 1,000 square feet and they should be seeking smaller ADU units. He further clarified this was not council initiated, but rather a response to state law and having some guidelines in place. He did say the program was “well thought out and well put together” but didn’t like the smaller units being exempt from impact fees.
Meadows confirmed 1,200 square feet would be the largest ADU allowed and confirmed residents do have an option to bring in their own plans—at a cost.
Strelo confirmed residents could bring in own plans and the 1,200 square feet ADU’s are only allowed on lot sizes 15,000 square feet lots and subject to different set-backs.
The item was approved in a 4-1 vote with Pope dissenting.