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Posted on: September 13, 2023

Planning Commission advances ADU policies

Accessory dwelling unit

After a four-hour meeting Sept. 12, the Planning Commission voted to advance a series of recommendations on Accessory Dwelling Unit policies and regulations. 

The recommendations will be folded into draft ordinances for the City Council's consideration Oct. 16.

The first action was specific to proposed amendments to the Zoning Code and Local Coastal Program and would require that all ADUs be used for dwelling unit purposes and subject to deed restriction. In R1 zones, a first-story ADU would receive priority over a second-story ADU if buildable area is available on the ground floor level of the lot.

In keeping with strategies in Del Mar's State-certified Housing Element, commissioners voted unanimously to recommend approval of incentive and amnesty programs to encourage the creation of at least 15 low-income ADUs by 2029.

State law requires Del Mar to update its ADU regulations and related policies by year's end.

State authorities have identified ADUs as an important source of housing. With limited exceptions, State policies override local control on considerations of design review, size, height, setbacks and parking. 

At the City level, permit applications are subject to administrative review only. In some cases along the shoreline, applications can be appealed to the California Coastal Commission.

Local ordinances may only include objective design standards that are measurable, verifiable and involve no subjective judgement. The State prohibits local agencies from imposing special requirements such as noticing, story poles and private scenic view protection.

Open agenda

Watch meeting

Related story: Residents asked to weigh in on ADUs (July 12, 2023)

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