Accessory Dwelling Units Make More Sense Now Than Ever

In a series of short articles, 361 Architecture looks at the pandemic and architecture through different lenses.
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ARTICLE TWO: MEDIUM

With the advent of the CV-19 pandemic, backyard cottages and second units, or Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s) as they are known in the real estate world, make more sense now than ever. ADUs provide the flexibility that has become necessary to accommodate our fluctuating work schedules and alternative family arrangements. They afford you the possibility of creating a multi-generational living situation, accommodating elderly parents or older children without the feeling of being on top of one another. Alternatively, they serve to create more rental housing stock which is desperately needed in the state.

In response to the housing crisis, both the state and Marin county have made it easier than ever to design and build ADUs. Part of the expanded incentive approved earlier this year, the county will waive up to $10,000 in fees for anyone who creates an ADU or JADU (Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit) and rents it at rates affordable to tenants with household incomes below 80% of the local median. Fees will be waived up to $5,000 for people creating an ADU and renting it at rates affordable to people earning between 80% and 120% of the median income. Each municipality within the County has their own set of regulations so it is best to check with your local planning and building departments for the specifics as they pertain to your property.

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ADUs come in myriad forms. They can be converted spaces within one’s home – basements, large crawl spaces and garages.  Alternately, they can be wholly detached units in the backyard or an addition to an existing home.

One added benefit of ADUs which runs parallel with our work at 361 Architecture, is that they provide a sustainable solution to help aid the housing crisis. They increase housing density but do so within the confines of existing infrastructure and have relatively small footprints.  For homeowners, they have the benefit of adding value to their properties.

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help with a design project. We can be found here: 361architecture.com

Daniel Weaver, Uli Zinnkann and Luis Garcia.

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