What Is ADU Zoning?

Building an ADU can be difficult. There are a plethora of regulations and rules to be aware of before you can even start. A big question we get a lot is “what is ADU zoning.”

What Are Zoning Laws

Zoning laws define how a property within a certain region can be used. They include regulations to either stimulate or slow down development in specific areas.

These zoning ordinances exist for all property plots and can greatly differ from region to region.

ADU Zoning Laws

ADU zoning has to do with the same as regular zoning laws. ADU zoning is just a set of regulations that determine how and if an ADU can be built. Common provisions of ADU zoning include:

  • Owner-occupancy requirement
  • Dimensional and design standards
  • Off-street parking requirements
  • Minimum lot sizes
  • Limits on the number of occupants
  • Limits on the number of bedrooms

Some zoning codes even include laws about who can live in the ADU. For example, some codes say that only family members or domestic employees can live within an ADU on your property. As you can tell, this can severely limit the number of ADUs built for rental purposes and can make the cost of building an ADU not worth it.

Cities Are Starting To Adopt Permissive Zoning

Certain states like Vermont and California must permit ADUs by right, under certain conditions. However, some state laws have been actively promoting cities and counties to start adopting permissive zoning regulations for ADUs.

They have been starting to do this to try to combat the rising housing crisis. ADUs provide affordable housing for low-income families to keep them off the streets. By lessening their rules and regulations on ADU development, they can make it easier for people to build affordable housing options for these low-income families.

Illegally Created ADUs

There are quite a few older communities that have a plethora of illegally created ADUs that have been granted amnesty that waive inspection and permitting fees in exchange for registering the units. However, we highly suggest making sure your ADU meets all regulations prior to building it so that it is not only safe but also so that you don’t get hit with any extra fees.

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