Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance

Second dwelling units

Revised March 5, 2018

Project Manager: Ricardo Soto, Associate Planner
Phone: (714) 667-2793
Project Description:

In 2003, the California State Legislature enacted AB1866, which took effect on July 1, 2003.  The so-called “Granny Flat” bill instructed local governments to include provisions that encourage the addition of second dwelling units in their municipal codes and to remove unreasonable restrictions on constructing such units by making them ministerial in nature.  The bill had broad support from a variety of constituents and sources and has been lauded as a means of improving affordable housing stock throughout California. In response to AB1866, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. NS-2629 amending the Santa Ana Municipal Code (SAMC) regarding second dwelling units in accordance with the changes made at the state level. The ordinance allowed for second dwelling units to be constructed in residential zoning districts provided development standards such as parking, lot coverage, setbacks, and unit size were met.

While state legislators and proponents of the bill had anticipated an influx of accessory dwelling units to help alleviate the shortage of affordable housing in the state, individuals trying to construct these units often faced what legislators perceived as prohibitive local regulations that discouraged their construction. To ease and streamline the perceived prohibitive local regulations, state legislators approved Senate Bill 1069 (SB1069) and Assembly Bill 2299 (AB2299) to amend Section 65852.2 of the Government Code relating to accessory dwelling units. The amendments are purported to further reduce the barriers to constructing these units, to help combat the complex housing shortage problem, and to increase the number of affordable housing units while preserving the character of residential neighborhoods. The amendments took effect January 1, 2017.

Due to several sections of the City’s previously existing accessory dwelling unit ordinance conflicting with SB1069 and AB2299, Santa Ana’s local ordinance has been superseded by state law and is no longer enforceable.

Staff is currently working on drafting a new local ordinance that is responsive to the community’s needs and concerns while complying with state law. A copy of the draft can be viewed below.  Community input is encouraged and feedback received will be incorporated into the new ordinance. Additional opportunities to comment on the draft will be available at the Planning Commission Study Session, Planning Commission meeting, and City Council meeting.

Important Dates:

October 9, 2017 – Planning Commission Study Session
October 23, 2017 – Planning Commission Hearing
November 7, 2017 – City Council First Reading – Continued
December 5, 2017 – City Council Study Session
February 20, 2018 – City Council Study Session
March 20, 2018 – City Council First Reading

Important Information

State of California Accessory Dwelling Unit Law: AB 2299 and SB 1069
Previously Existing Accessory Dwelling Unit Standards
Draft Ordinance
Transit Proximity Map
Frequently Asked Questions