House layout

The City of Calistoga is amending its zoning codes to streamline the fee and permit process, making it easier to develop accessory dwelling units (ADUs), starting Jan. 1.

The city council on Tuesday approved the planning commission’s recommendation to come into compliance with a number of bills (18 in all) enacted in the recent state legislative session directed at promoting the development of ADUs and Junior ADUs on single and multiple-family properties.

Among the changes, the city’s municipal code must now increase allowable square footage from 750 to 850 for studio and one-bedrooms, and up to 1,000-square feet for more than one bedroom.

Junior ADUs, typically the conversion of a master bedroom to its own unit, will have no limit on cooking facilities, and will require a separate entrance.

The city will also allow the conversion of garages and carports without having to provide replacement parking.

Building and Planning Director Lynn Goldberg said the city also will not be able to charge impact fees for ADUs of less than 750 feet. “It’s a loss of revenue, there’s no way around that,” she said.

Due to the revisions, the city will be losing out on $37,567 per unit in ADU fees, Goldberg said. That figure usually slows people down in their plans to add an ADU, she said.

The state is hoping the amendments, coupled with fee waivers, will encourage more people to build ADUs, and may encourage property owners with illegally constructed units to apply for a building permit.

This article has been corrected since its original posting to reflect that the city will miss out on $37,567 per unit in fees under the new system.

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You can reach Cynthia Sweeney at 942-4035 or csweeney@weeklycalistogan.com.


The Weekly Calistogan Editor

Cynthia Sweeney has been editor of The Weekly Calistogan since July, 2018. Previously, she was a reporter for the St. Helena Star, and North Bay Business Journal. She also spent a significant amount of time freelancing in Hawaii.