March 26, 2924

ADU Laws and Regulations in Long Beach - 2024

Steadily's blog cover page for information around landlord insurance.

Understanding ADU Definitions and Benefits in Long Beach

As Long Beach embraces innovative housing solutions, understanding Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and their advantages is crucial for homeowners. This section delves into what exactly an ADU is and the array of benefits it offers.

What Is an ADU?

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a secondary housing unit on a single-family residential lot. These structures come in various forms, such as detached ADUs, which are standalone structures, or attached ADUs, which are connected to the primary residence. Conversion ADUs transform existing spaces like garages into livable units, while Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs) are typically smaller than standard ADUs and are often carved out from the primary residence's existing space. Long Beach also categorizes structures known as granny flats, in-law units, and casitas under its ADU umbrella, acknowledging their role in expanding affordable housing options.

The Benefits of Building ADUs

Building ADUs in Long Beach presents several benefits. Firstly, it addresses the affordable housing shortage by providing lower-cost residential units within existing neighborhoods. They are an effective means of utilizing property and can lead to extra income through rent, which homeowners can congeal into securing passive income streams. Furthermore, they often increase property value, making them a smart investment for the future. ADUs also offer flexibility as they can accommodate family members or be rented out, thereby contributing to the diversity of housing options in the city.

ADU Regulations in Long Beach

In Long Beach, the evolution of Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) regulations is shaped by state legislation and local city ordinances, which aim to address the housing shortage while maintaining community character.

State Laws and City Ordinances

Long Beach's ADU regulations are aligned with both state and city policies. The integration of state laws such as SB 9 with city-specific ordinances creates a regulatory framework that promotes the development of ADUs, while also reflecting local preferences. The City Council and Planning Department work to ensure that new laws, including adjustments like SB 897 and AB 2221, are woven into local regulations effectively.

Zoning and Land Use Requirements

Zoning regulations in Long Beach determine where ADUs can be built, their size, and spacing from existing structures. The Development Permit Center specifies that attached and detached ADUs must maintain a 4-foot setback from side and rear property lines, with variances for converted ADUs and Junior ADUs to ensure fire safety. Zoning also dictates the number of allowable units based on lot size and existing structures, ensuring compatibility with the neighborhood.

Design and Construction Standards

The construction of ADUs in Long Beach must adhere to specific design standards that ensure safety, quality, and aesthetic harmony with the surrounding community. The Planning Department and the City Council strive to provide clarity on these regulations to residents, builders, and staff, emphasizing the importance of quality design for new housing stock. Obtaining a building permit involves a review of these standards, ensuring that all ADUs meet local as well as state construction guidelines.

Permitting Process for ADUs in Long Beach

In Long Beach, the process of obtaining a permit for an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is managed through a streamlined system. This process ensures that ADUs meet local zoning requirements and extends the city's housing stock with responsible development.

Starting the ADU Application

To initiate an ADU application in Long Beach, the applicant must prepare a complete package that includes the necessary plans and documents reflecting the project's details. The Development Permit Center serves as the starting point where applications are received and reviewed. Applicants are advised that a building permit application will be reviewed within 60 days of submittal. If the ADU is proposed with a new Single-Family Dwelling (SFD) or Multi-Family Dwelling (MFD), the primary residence's permit must be acted upon before or with the ADU/JADU application. For more detailed information, property owners may refer to the Summary of Accessory Dwelling Unit Zoning Regulations provided by the city.

Approval and Inspection Procedures

After submission, the approval process for ADUs involves a thorough assessment of the application against the specific ADU ordinance of Long Beach. If the proposal meets the criteria, no public hearing is necessary, and an administrative design review will take place. During the construction phase, regular inspections are required to ensure compliance with building, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing standards—especially if the ADU will utilize existing utilities. Should modifications be made to an already existing structure to accommodate the ADU, additional permits and documentation may be necessary. For related inquiries, the Frequently Asked Questions section is available for guidance.

Specific Requirements for Different ADU Types in Long Beach

In Long Beach, accessory dwelling units (ADUs) must meet specific regulations, which vary according to their category and construction type. These regulations address criteria such as kitchen and bathroom facilities, parking, setbacks, and living space constraints.

Detached, Attached, and Conversion ADUs

Detached ADUs are stand-alone structures, separate from the primary residence. They must have their own kitchen and bathroom facilities. In Long Beach, detached ADUs are limited in size based on the lot size, but generally, they cannot exceed 1,200 square feet. For attached ADUs, which are built connected to the existing home, the size is typically limited to 50% of the existing living area, with a maximum of 1,200 square feet. Conversion ADUs involve transforming existing spaces like garages, barns, or workshops into living spaces. These conversion ADUs often have more lenient setback requirements, as they are typically built within the footprint of existing structures.

  • Parking: One parking space is usually required for ADUs unless state exemptions apply, such as the ADU being within half a mile of public transit.
  • Setback: Different setbacks apply depending on whether the ADU is new or converted, with more lenient requirements for conversions.
  • Allowed location: Detached and attached ADUs both must follow zoning rules that specify where they can be located on a property.

Junior ADUs and their Unique Standards

Junior ADUs (JADUs) are smaller than the typical ADU, not exceeding 500 square feet, and are often created within the walls of an existing single-family home. A JADU must contain an efficiency kitchen, while the bathroom may be shared with the existing living space. JADUs present a unique category as they do not require additional parking spaces and can be developed with minimal impact to the existing structure.

  • Living space: JADUs offer a streamlined approach to creating rentable living space within the existing footprint of a dwelling unit.
  • Owner occupancy: Unlike other ADUs, owner occupancy in the main residence or the JADU is a typical requirement.

Long Beach encourages the development of ADUs, offering residents the opportunity to build affordable housing options and expand the city’s housing stock within these clearly defined parameters.

Logistical Considerations in ADU Development in Long Beach

In Long Beach, property owners considering an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) project must navigate a range of logistical considerations pertaining to lot specifications, parking and accessibility, and property layout to ensure compliance with local regulations and to maximize property value.

Lot Specifications for ADU Eligibility

Long Beach has minimum lot size requirements that must be met for a property to be eligible for an ADU. Single-family residential zones often allow ADUs, but eligibility can hinge on specific lot characteristics, including dimensions and existing structures. The design of the ADU must also adhere to local zoning laws, including building height restrictions, to maintain neighborhood character.

Parking and Accessibility

Parking is a crucial component of ADU development. Long Beach mandates parking requirements which can vary, especially if the ADU is near public transit. Solutions like garage conversions must still accommodate the necessary parking spaces, which could be outdoor or within the existing garage footprint, impacting space for things like a patio or garden.

Maximizing Property Layout and Value

To enhance property value, strategic design and layout of an ADU are key. The placement of a studio or one-bedroom ADU could offer additional income or accommodate extended family. Integrating the ADU with the primary residence’s style adds to the aesthetic appeal, while ensuring each unit maintains privacy and accessibility, which is paramount for tenant attractiveness and retention.

Financial Considerations for ADU Owners in Long Beach

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) can be a significant financial consideration for homeowners in Long Beach. They offer avenues for generating rental income and might come with incentives that can reduce initial development costs.

ADU as an Investment for Rental Income

Constructing an ADU in Long Beach presents homeowners with the opportunity to generate passive rental income. The demand for housing in the city can translate into a steady stream of extra income for property owners. Rental prices for ADUs can vary, but they typically contribute to an increase in overall property value. Homeowners should also account for ongoing costs such as maintenance, property taxes, and insurance when calculating potential returns.

Incentives and Grants for Homeowners

The City of Long Beach offers several incentives and grants for homeowners interested in building ADUs. These incentives are designed to encourage the development of affordable and sustainable housing options. Homeowners can explore local ordinances that may provide financial aid or fee waivers to offset construction costs, leading to further enhancement of property value and the long-term economic benefits of establishing an ADU.

Community Impact and the Future of Housing in Long Beach

The expansion of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in Long Beach is a crucial move toward addressing the city's housing shortages and is reshaping community dynamics. The local government's efforts align with California state law to encourage ADU development, pivotal for sustainable urban growth.

ADUs Addressing Housing Shortages

In recent years, Long Beach has seen a dramatic increase in the construction of ADUs, partly due to changes in California's housing laws. Specifically, SB 9 has been instrumental in complementing state ADU law by allowing urban lot splits and construction of two-unit projects, which boosts the availability of affordable housing in the city. Long Beach has set a target to facilitate the construction of 400-500 ADUs per year to meet the future housing needs. This strategic expansion is vital as Long Beach aims to create space for over 26,500 new residential units by 2029, thereby tackling both the housing scarcity and affordability issues.

Sustainable Development and Neighborhood Dynamics

ADUs in Long Beach are not only a response to housing shortage but are also a testament to the city's commitment to sustainable development. Efforts to create ADUs ensue with a focus on safety and compatibility with neighborhood dynamics, notably in coastal zones, where the feasibility of such projects often comes under more scrutiny. Encouraging the construction of ADUs in areas close to public transit is another strategy that Long Beach adopts to reduce the carbon footprint and promote sustainable urban living. As ADUs become integrated into existing single-family home lots, they are expected to drive a shift toward a more economically and environmentally sustainable community without sacrificing neighborhood character.

Special Circumstances for ADU Development in Long Beach

In Long Beach, developing accessory dwelling units (ADUs) comes with unique conditions, especially when it comes to coastal zones and creating spaces for elderly family members. These special circumstances often require tailored approaches to navigate regulations and maximize the functionality of ADUs within these contexts.

Challenges and Solutions in Coastal Zones

Coastal Zone Regulations: Constructing ADUs within the Coastal Zone of Long Beach can pose challenges due to strict environmental protection laws. Builders must obtain a development permit from the coastal development permit center, adhering to both city and coastal commission regulations. This process ensures that construction does not negatively impact the sensitive ecosystems along the coastline.

  • Solution: Developers should prepare a comprehensive plan that addresses potential environmental concerns, which may include details on water usage, waste management, and preservation of native plant life. Early engagement with regulatory authorities can streamline the approval process.

ADUs Designed for Elderly Family Members

Accessibility and Comfort: Designing an ADU for elderly family members requires consideration of accessibility, safety, and comfort. ADUs should be single-story and equipped with features such as wider doorways for wheelchair access and walk-in showers with grab bars.

  • Solution: It's recommended to include details that cater to the needs of the elderly in the initial design plans submitted to the development permit center. This ensures any special construction elements, such as ramps or emergency alert systems, comply with both local regulations and the accessory building requirements, fostering an environment that is both safe and functional for older occupants.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Frequently Asked Questions section provides clarity on specific rules and support systems pertaining to Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in Long Beach, including size and height regulations, financial programs, rental requirements, permit costs, and recent legislative changes.

What are the size and height restrictions for constructing an ADU in Long Beach?

In Long Beach, ADUs must adhere to size and height restrictions that align with zoning regulations and lot characteristics. Typically, the maximum size for a detached ADU is 800 square feet, with varying height restrictions based on the type and location of the ADU.

Are there available grants or financial assistance for building an ADU in Long Beach?

Residents may access programs offering grants or financial assistance for constructing ADUs in Long Beach. These initiatives aim to help homeowners navigate the costs of ADU development to encourage more affordable housing options.

How does Long Beach's pre-approved ADU plan program work?

Long Beach's pre-approved ADU plan program streamlines the building process by offering homeowners a selection of city-vetted plans. These plans expedite approval times and reduce design costs for individuals looking to add ADUs on their property.

Can I rent out an ADU in Long Beach and what are the requirements?

ADUs in Long Beach can be rented out, subject to rental requirements, such as lease terms and restrictions that promote long-term tenancy over short-term rentals to support local housing goals.

What are the costs associated with obtaining an ADU permit in Long Beach?

The costs for an ADU permit in Long Beach vary based on project specifics, including size and development type. Fees typically include plan checks, permitting, and utility connections, with potential discounts for pre-approved plans.

How does the 2024 California state law affect ADU regulations in Long Beach?

The 2024 California state law impacts ADU regulations in Long Beach by potentially introducing statewide standards that might override local restrictions to further alleviate housing shortages, emphasizing the creation and sustainability of ADUs across the state.

This post is for informational purposes only and does not serve as legal, financial, or tax advice. Consult your own legal, financial, or tax advisor for matters mentioned here. The information on this site is general in nature. Any description of coverage is necessarily simplified. Whether a particular loss is covered depends on the specific facts and the provisions, exclusions and limits of the actual policy. Nothing on this site alters the terms or conditions of any of our policies. You should read the policy for a complete description of coverage. Coverage options, limits, discounts, deductibles and other features are subject to individuals meeting our underwriting criteria and state availability. Not all features available in all states. Discounts may not apply to all coverages. Steadily is not liable for any actions taken based on this information. If you believe any of this information may be inaccurate please contact us.

Download your free resource

Table of Contents

Get coverage in minutes

One of America's best-rated landlord insurance services. No hidden cancellation fees. Competitive rates nationwide.

Get a quote
Get Appointed

Delight your clients with one of America's best-rated landlord insurance services nationwide.

Apply Today

Video Library

View all videos

Other Resources

Get coverage in minutes

No hidden cancellation fees. Competitive rates nationwide.

    Thank you! Your submission has been received!
    Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

    Get Appointed

    Become a Steadily appointed agent and start selling one of America's best-rated landlord insurance services.