State legislation paving way for secondary units

Hannah Jones

The Truckee Town Council voted Tuesday to update its development code to comply with several new state laws related to secondary residential units.

“The state Legislature has made a big push to get more housing created across the state in an effort to try to house more Californians,” said Town Attorney Andrew Morris.

The new legislation requires the town to make changes to its current development code to comply with state law. If they do not, Morris said the town will be unable to enforce its current accessory dwelling units ordinance at all. The new legislation will take effect Jan. 1, requiring swift action from council.

“The idea is to keep us in compliance with state law,” he said.

In October Gov. Gavin Newsom signed several new laws related to secondary residential units. The legislation creates new requirements for secondary residential units, including setbacks, floor area, parking, fees and occupancy, according to a staff report. Both a secondary residential unit and junior accessory dwelling unit are now allowed on one lot. The laws also prohibit the short term rental, or 30 days or less, of secondary units.

In November the Town Council began discussing plans to incentivize construction of accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, to provide more affordable housing stock in the town.

The town currently has $2 million set aside in general housing designation funds and is planning to put $500,000 toward an ADU program. The plan is geared to make housing available to the “missing middle,” or those who make too much money to qualify for affordable housing programs and too little to buy a house. Town staff will return to the council in February with a status and timeline on an ADU program.

On Aug. 30 Newsom signed Assembly Bill 670, created and sponsored by Truckee, which forbids homeowner associations from prohibiting secondary units. Additionally the state has eliminated parking requirements for ADUs and changed zoning requirements to allow ADUs in multi-family zones.

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or

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