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April 19, 2024

ADU Laws and Regulations in San Bernardino - 2024

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ADU Regulations Overview in San Bernardino

In San Bernardino, California, Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are small residential units that can be an integral part of addressing the housing shortage. Governed by specific regulations and planning requirements, ADUs offer homeowners the ability to maximize their property's potential.

Government Code mandates that local jurisdictions comply with state law by implementing ADU ordinances. San Bernardino has responded by updating its codes to facilitate the development of ADUs, in both urban and suburban settings. Local ordinances reflect state law with some tailored adjustments unique to the region.

Key aspects of ADU regulation include the following:

  • Size Restrictions: ADUs typically should not exceed 50% of the existing living area, with a maximum of 1,200 square feet.
  • Setbacks: They often require certain distances from property lines, known as setbacks, which vary depending on zoning.
  • Owner Occupancy: Previously, owner occupancy was required for either the primary or secondary unit, but recent legislation has relaxed this requirement through 2025.
  • Parking: New ADUs may not require additional parking if they are within a half-mile from a public transit stop.

For detailed guidance, resources such as the San Bernardino County ADU handout and tools like Symbium's ADU regulations platform serve to streamline the planning process.

It's crucial for homeowners to review all local planning documents and consult with the county's planning department to ensure their project complies with all ADU regulations in San Bernardino. Clear understanding of these regulations guarantees that the development process aligns with local codes, promoting housing availability while respecting community standards.

Types of ADUs in San Bernardino

San Bernardino’s accessory dwelling unit regulations accommodate various types of ADUs, providing multiple options for property owners to increase living space and housing availability. These ADUs, including detached and attached units, Junior ADUs, and various conversions, offer flexibility to meet specific needs and property configurations.

Detached ADU

A Detached ADU is a standalone structure separate from the main residence. In San Bernardino, property owners can build a detached ADU up to 1,200 square feet, depending on lot size and zoning standards, offering independence and privacy from the primary home.

Attached ADU

An Attached ADU shares a wall with the primary residence. This type of ADU is often an extension of the existing home and subject to San Bernardino’s regulations on size, which typically require the ADU to be proportional to the primary dwelling’s square footage.

Junior ADU

A Junior ADU (JADU) is usually smaller than a standard ADU and is contained entirely within the walls of a single-family home. For example, a Junior ADU might involve converting an existing bedroom or garage. San Bernardino allows JADUs up to 500 square feet in size.

Garage Conversions

Property owners often convert existing garages into living spaces, known as Garage Conversions. These conversions make use of pre-existing structures, which can be a cost-effective option for adding an Accessory Dwelling Unit.

Other Conversions

Apart from garages, Other Conversions can include spaces like basements or attics, commonly referred to as "granny flats." In San Bernardino, converting such existing spaces into ADUs is subject under the local ADU regulations, like meeting building codes and ensuring proper egress.

Zoning and Land Use in San Bernardino

Zoning laws in San Bernardino dictate how land is to be utilized within the county, helping to organize urban growth and balance residential development with commercial and industrial needs. These laws specifically categorize land into distinct zones, such as single-family residential, multi-family residential, commercial, and industrial. San Bernardino has developed these regulations to ensure the appropriate use of land, which contributes to the community's overall health and safety.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are a focal point in San Bernardino's land use planning. ADUs are secondary housing units on the same lot as a main residence. They can provide additional housing options in single-family and multi-family residential zones. The regulations pertaining to ADUs are intended to increase housing availability while still respecting local zoning laws.

For multi-family zones, the opportunities for building ADUs are structured to allow a dense but livable space, ensuring that adequate services and infrastructure can support the additional inhabitants. It is important for residents to review current San Bernardino County ADU Regulations & Zoning Requirements for specific guidelines and to confirm how many units they can build on their property.

Single-family zones are generally more restrictive, focusing on preserving the character of neighborhoods. However, the integration of ADUs into these zones is a strategic component for increasing the housing supply. Guidelines must be followed regarding lot size, coverage, setbacks, and the unit's size to comply with the county's Planning Division's standards.

Lastly, the concept of lot coverage is an essential element when discussing land use. It dictates the proportion of a lot that can be covered by buildings, including ADUs. San Bernardino's policies control lot coverage to maintain uncrowded, healthy living environments and to manage the natural runoff and absorption of water, which is crucial in these developed areas.

Building Code Compliance in San Bernardino

When constructing an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in San Bernardino County, builders must adhere strictly to the building code, which encompasses a range of regulations from fire safety to sanitation. Compliance ensures the safety, habitability, and sustainability of the structure.

Materials utilized in the construction must be durable, conform to quality standards, and be suitable for the type of ADU being built. The selection of materials directly influences the ADU's structural integrity and long-term maintenance.

For Fire Safety, builders must install smoke detectors and adhere to specific construction standards that mitigate fire risks. These regulations include proper spacing between buildings and materials that are resistant to fire.

Regarding Sanitation, ADUs must have a dedicated bathroom and kitchen facilities, each equipped with proper Sewer and Water connections. These connections must comply with both local and state regulations to ensure public health safety.

The Building Code also stipulates minimum size requirements and maximum occupancy rules to prevent overcrowding and ensure a decent living space. Builders should ensure that the construction of the unit does not impede access to emergency services or disrupt existing utility lines.

Builders and homeowners planning to build an ADU should familiarize themselves with the detailed guidelines provided in the San Bernardino County Development Code to ensure full compliance. It is imperative to comply with these regulations as they are designed to promote safety, comfort, and quality of life for the inhabitants.

Design and Size Limitations in San Bernardino

When constructing an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in San Bernardino, builders must adhere to specific design and size limitations to ensure compliance with local regulations. The maximum square footage allowed for an ADU varies depending on several factors, including the type of ADU and the size of the primary residence.

  • Detached ADUs and attached ADUs typically can range from 500 to 1,200 square feet, with the exact limit contingent upon the number of bedrooms.
  • Junior ADUs (JADUs) are bound by a firm maximum of 500 square feet, as these are created from existing space within the home.

Height restrictions are also in place, with ADUs usually required to be no taller than the main dwelling or a prescribed limit set by the county's guidelines.

Regarding setbacks, San Bernardino mandates that ADUs maintain a certain distance from the property lines. The specifics can vary, but common requirements include:

  • Front yard: Varies based on local zoning laws;
  • Side and rear yard: Often a minimum of 5 feet.

The lot size of the property heavily influences the feasibility and scale of the potential ADU. San Bernardino regulations provide a tiered schedule of impact fees based on the ADU's size, encouraging smaller ADUs by waiving fees for those under 750 square feet.

In summary, San Bernardino's design and size standards for ADUs are structured to foster a balance between offering additional housing and preserving the character of neighborhoods. Builders and homeowners contemplating an ADU project need to examine the array of rules that apply to their unique circumstances and design their units accordingly.

Permitting Process in San Bernardino

To construct an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in San Bernardino County, applicants must navigate through a permitting process which involves collaboration with the planning and building departments. This process starts by submitting a building permit application to the San Bernardino County Land Use Services Department. Compliance with California Building Codes, San Bernardino County Fire Code, and the San Bernardino County Development Code is mandatory for approval.

  • Initial Phase: Applicants submit a permit application, inclusive of plans and site details.
  • Review: The planning department examines the application to ensure it meets zoning regulations.
  • Inspection: The building department reviews the application for adherence to building and safety codes.

For ADUs located on lots with an onsite water treatment system, a percolation test may be required as part of the application process. This test ensures proper water drainage and treatment on the property.

The timeline for the permit review process can vary, largely depending on the completeness and complexity of the submitted plans. The county's commitment to streamlining ADUs aims to facilitate a faster permitting process. However, precise processing times are variable and applicants are encouraged to maintain regular communication with county officials. By adhering to the outlined requirements and through proactive engagement, applicants contribute to an efficient process that aligns with San Bernardino County's regulations.

It is important for applicants to thoroughly plan their project before submission, as a well-prepared application can expedite the review timeline.

Owner-Occupancy Requirements in San Bernardino

In San Bernardino, owner-occupancy requirements for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) have undergone significant changes. Initially, these requirements mandated that an ADU owner must live on the property as their primary residence. However, a shift in regulation has led to more flexible arrangements, particularly due to legislative updates.

Enacted from January 1, 2024, Assembly Bill 976 establishes that ADUs built before 2020 or after 2025 do not fall under owner-occupancy stipulations. This update offers greater flexibility for property owners and investors, facilitating easier management and rental of ADUs.

Owner-occupancy requirements for Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) construction vary based on the year of construction: ADUs built before 2020 typically don't require owner-occupancy, while those constructed between 2020 and 2024 do. However, after 2025, the owner-occupancy requirement generally no longer applies to ADUs.

Note: *For ADUs constructed between 2020 and 2024, check local ordinances for specific requirements as these may vary.

For those considering the development or rental of a Junior ADU (JADU), they need to understand that eligibility for exemption is also dictated by the year of construction compliant with the recent assembly bill. It is paramount that anyone involved in the development or leasing of ADUs in San Bernardino remains informed on current laws to ensure compliance.

San Bernardino’s Land Use Services Department provides a detailed handout tailored to these specifics, which should be reviewed for the most accurate and up-to-date information. It is also advisable to liaise directly with local authorities to clarify any uncertainties regarding occupancy and ownership rights.

Parking Guidelines in San Bernardino

In San Bernardino County, the parking requirements for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) have been designed with flexibility in mind, especially considering the proximity to public transit. These guidelines aim to ensure that ADUs contribute positively to the housing stock without adding undue stress to existing parking infrastructure.

For ADUs under 750 square feet:

  • No additional parking space is required if the ADU is within a half-mile walking distance of any public transit.
  • This concession facilitates the use of public transportation and minimizes the demand for on-site parking.

ADUs over 750 square feet:

  • One parking space is typically required, unless specific exemptions apply.
  • Exemptions include the ADU being part of an existing primary residence or within an architecturally and historically significant district.

Conversion of existing garages:

  • When a garage, carport, or covered parking structure is demolished or converted in conjunction with the construction of an ADU, replacement parking is not required.

Types of Permissible Parking Spaces:

  • Tandem parking is considered acceptable, as well as parking in setback areas, unless specific findings are made regarding safety or maneuverability.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are subject to different parking requirements based on size: those under 750 sq ft typically don't require additional parking, especially if they're within a half-mile of public transit; however, for ADUs over 750 sq ft, one parking space is generally mandated, with exemptions granted for locations within architecturally significant districts or as part of existing residences. Additionally, in cases of garage conversion, there's typically no obligation to provide replacement parking.

The goal of San Bernardino's parking guidelines for ADUs is to balance the availability of housing with the practicalities of transportation and neighborhood parking demands. The guidelines reflect a progressive approach, promoting the use and accessibility of public transportation and simplifying the process for homeowners to add ADUs to their properties.

Utilities and Service Connections in San Bernardino

When constructing an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in San Bernardino, utility and service connections are essential components that need to be considered carefully. The connection to water and sewer systems is regulated to ensure proper access to these vital services while also addressing environmental concerns.

  • Water Connections: Developers must establish a connection to the existing water supply. For ADUs less than 750 square feet, impact fees may not apply, fostering more affordable development options.
  • Sewer Connections: Similar to water connections, the sewer hookup must integrate with the current municipal system. The focus is on both functionality and adherence to environmental health standards.

ADUs may also be subject to fire sprinkler requirements, dependent on the local fire code, which is enforced to ensure occupant safety. Additionally, utility connections—inclusive of gas and electricity—must be properly installed and inspected to comply with the county's codes. These ensure that the ADU is safe, livable, and sustainable.

San Bernardino provides all the relevant details, helping prospective ADU owners navigate the often complex and technical process of establishing proper utility connections, ensuring compliance with the latest regulations. The connection process involves more than just physical infrastructure; it requires coordination with various municipal departments and adherence to specific codes designed to promote safety and sustainability for all new dwelling units.

Financial Considerations in San Bernardino

When considering the addition of an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in San Bernardino, it’s crucial to assess various financial factors. These include upfront costs, potential waivers for impact fees, available financing options, and the implications on property value. Gaining clarity on these financial aspects can inform homeowners' decisions and investment strategies.

Cost Estimates

ADU projects can vary widely in terms of cost, with factors like size, design, and materials playing significant roles. ADU plans in San Bernardino are available starting as low as $50,000. However, homeowners should be prepared for costs to rise depending on their specific requirements and any unforeseen complications that may arise during construction.

Impact Fees and Waivers

Impact fees are charges imposed by the county to cover the costs of providing public services for the new dwelling. San Bernardino provides a tiered schedule of impact fees based on the ADU's size. For an ADU less than 750 square feet, the fees are set at zero, offering a financial incentive for smaller units. Additionally, school fees are waived for ADUs under 500 square feet.

Financing and Grants

Homeowners looking to build an ADU have a variety of financing options. Traditional loans can be supplemented with specific ADU financing programs. Notably, the CalHFA ADU Grant Program provides financial assistance that helps to cover predevelopment costs for eligible homeowners, easing the financial burden of ADU construction.

Property Value Implications

An ADU can significantly increase a property's market value. While the exact increase is dependent on many factors, a rough estimate suggests that property value may rise by 100 times the ADU’s monthly rental value. This boost in property value is something to consider, as it might offset the initial investment over time.

Rental and Income Opportunities in San Bernardino

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in San Bernardino present homeowners with viable avenues for earning extra income. These independent residential units, which might be detached or attached to a primary residence, can be rented out to tenants under San Bernardino's local ordinances.

The rental market in San Bernardino recognizes ADUs as a means to provide affordable housing. Homeowners decide on the rental terms, balancing their financial goals with the need to keep housing expenses manageable for renters.

San Bernardino's ADU regulations allow for a substantial income opportunity. Renting out an ADU can offset mortgage payments or cover maintenance costs. For instance, an ADU renting for $1,500 per month could potentially enhance property value significantly.

The rental aspect of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) offers several benefits: homeowners can enjoy a consistent income stream from renting out ADUs, contributing to affordability by providing housing options in the community. Furthermore, homeowners have the flexibility to set their own rental terms, accommodating both short-term and long-term leasing arrangements according to their preferences and needs.

Owners of ADUs in San Bernardino should ensure their rental arrangements comply with official regulations in terms of safety, zoning, and allowable uses. They must also remain aware of the state's guidelines on ADUs and conform to any amendments to local laws affecting ADUs as housing units.

San Bernardino's ADU laws are crafted to balance the interests of homeowners, renters, and the community. By following these rules and leveraging ADUs, property owners supply desirable rental units while gaining financial benefit.

Community Impact in San Bernardino

The integration of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in San Bernardino addresses several pressing concerns within the community, chiefly the housing crisis and the need for more affordable housing options. The local regulations allow homeowners to construct ADUs which contribute appreciably to the housing stock without altering the character of neighborhoods.

Residents have witnessed an increased availability of housing options as ADUs, often referred to as backyard homes or granny flats, provide additional dwelling units within existing residential lots. This innovative housing solution caters to a diverse population, including smaller families, elderly relatives, or tenants searching for budget-friendly living spaces.

Population growth in San Bernardino has intensified the demand for affordable living spaces. ADUs present a pragmatic response to this demand, enabling families to house relatives or earn rental income. Consequently, these structures help alleviate the pressure on the local housing market by offering:

  • Alternative housing solutions that blend seamlessly with existing structures
  • A potential source of income for homeowners
  • Affordable rent options for community members

Importantly, the county has established a tiered schedule of impact fees to encourage the development of smaller ADUs. This fee structure ensures that ADUs under 750 square feet are exempt from certain fees, promoting the development of these units as an economical alternative to traditional housing.

The county's approach strikes a balance between growth and sustainability and highlights ADUs as a cornerstone in resolving housing availability issues. The policy underlines a commitment to addressing the community's needs while fostering an environment that supports housing affordability and diversity.

Contractor and Construction Management in San Bernardino

When undertaking an ADU project in San Bernardino, engaging a competent contractor is essential. Contractors are charged with managing the construction process, ensuring it adheres to the ADU regulations of the area, and meeting specific quality standards. The role they play in site construction cannot be overstated, as they translate the project from an ADU sales order into a physical structure.

Choosing the right contractor involves:

  • Experience: Their previous work with ADUs will inform their approach and problem-solving abilities.
  • Licensing: They need to be properly licensed in accordance with local building authorities.
  • Insight: They should be familiar with San Bernardino ADU regulations.

Managing the construction involves several key phases:

  1. Planning and Design: The contractor works with homeowners to create permit-ready sketches.
  2. Site Preparation: Preparing the physical site for construction.
  3. Building: The phase wherein the ADU is constructed.

During construction, homeowners should anticipate:

  • Regular Updates: Contractors should provide status reports on progress.
  • Quality Control: Ensuring workmanship adheres to codes and standards.
  • Budget Management: Tracking costs to prevent overruns.

Contractors will also navigate ADU requirements to streamline approval processes. Effective management results in the ADU meeting both the homeowner's expectations and the legal requirements of San Bernardino. A reputable contractor ensures that the construction phase moves smoothly, maintaining adherence to the agreed-upon sales order and timeline.

Local Resources and Support in San Bernardino

When embarking on an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) project in San Bernardino, homeowners have access to a variety of local resources that guide them through the regulations and procedures specific to the area.

Planning Department

San Bernardino's Planning Department offers detailed guidelines on ADU development. Builders and homeowners can find zoning requirements, property set-backs, and size limitations among other stipulations. The City’s ADU regulations serve as a first point of reference.

Building and Safety Division

For building permits and safety inspections, the Building and Safety Division delivers crucial services ensuring that construction adheres to all local and state codes. They address structural, electrical, and plumbing standards for ADUs. Documentation and permit applications are available through their office and on their website.

Workshops and Seminars

Periodically, San Bernardino conducts workshops and seminars aimed at educating the public about ADU development. These workshops offer insights into efficient planning and cover both new builds and conversions.

California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD)

The California HCD plays a vital role in setting statewide ADU policies. Their regulations influence local standards, providing a broader framework within which San Bernardino's rules operate. They also issue informative materials that can aid homeowners throughout the process.

By utilizing these resources, individuals seeking to add an ADU to their property can feel confident in meeting all legal and safety requirements. The support available ensures that every step toward ADU completion is well-informed and compliant with crucial regulations.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section addresses common inquiries regarding the rules and procedures for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in San Bernardino County, providing clear and specific information about local requirements.

What are the minimum size requirements for an ADU in San Bernardino County?

In San Bernardino County, an ADU must be at least 150 square feet. Additionally, the county sets no impact fees for an ADU of less than 750 square feet.

Are there any specific zoning regulations I should be aware of when building an ADU in San Bernardino?

When it comes to zoning, one should be aware that while state laws offer some standardization, local jurisdictions like San Bernardino may impose particular zoning requirements suited to the area's needs.

How do I apply for an ADU permit in San Bernardino County?

To apply for an ADU permit in San Bernardino County, individuals must submit plans that comply with state and local regulations. The county's Planning Division provides a handy guide to streamline the application process.

Does San Bernardino County offer financial incentives or grants for ADU construction?

San Bernardino County has not specified particular incentives for ADU construction. However, they may periodically offer programs, so individuals should check local government resources regularly for updates.

What are the parking requirements for ADUs in the City of San Bernardino?

The City of San Bernardino requires limited parking for ADUs, often waiving these requirements if the ADU is located within a half-mile of public transit.

Are there design and construction standards that my ADU must adhere to in San Bernardino County?

Yes, San Bernardino County mandates that ADUs conform to local design and construction standards, which typically coincide with state housing laws to ensure safety and habitability.

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.

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