Good-Bye, Single-Family Homes

Though this has been creating a buzz in the Real Estate universe, it has gotten little notice in the press or general population though it fundamentally changes all California neighborhoods. ADU stands for Accessory Dwelling Unit and is the term used in AB 2299, a bill passed in 2016 by the California Legislature and signed by the governor. ADUs are second dwelling units on a lot meant as rentals. AB 2299 requires — not allows but requires — local governments to allow ADUs in all zones. In effect, AB 2299 does away with single-family zones throughout California.

If you thought that you bought and lived in a single-family zone, that is no longer true. Every lot is now allowed to have at least two dwelling units. These units can be up to 1,200 square feet and do not have to abide by the standard setbacks or parking requirements. If you think your neighborhood is crowded now, it is about to double in density.

AB 2299 is, in part, a product of the California real estate industry in a bid to drive home prices even higher (and of course their profits). Since every homeowner can now have a rental unit and its income, home prices will skyrocket.

Former assemblymember Das Williams (voted for AB 2299), State Senator Hannah Beth Jackson (couldn’t be bothered to vote either way), and Governor Jerry Brown (signed AB 2299 into law) have all turned their backs on the millions of Californians who bought homes in single-family zones with the expectation that they would remain single-family zones. AB 2299 robs these people of their property rights.

Though many cities voiced their opposition to AB 2299 during the debate in the Legislature, Santa Barbara’s voice was noticeably absent. Shame on the Santa Barbara City Council. AB 2299 will mean more people, more traffic, more density, more noise, more trash, less privacy, less security. All in less desirable neighborhoods.

If this disturbs you, let your elected representatives know about it, loudly and often.

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