News Details

Planning Commission to Consider Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Regulations

On Wednesday, March 10, 2021, the Norco Planning Commission will consider a proposed Zone Code Amendment (ZCA) to ensure the City of Norco’s requirements for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are consistent with the State of California’s requirements.

In its certification of the 2014-2021 Housing Element Update to the Norco General Plan, the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) required the adoption of ADU requirements consistent with State standards, which are periodically updated. The State views ADUs favorably as a means of increasing the amount of affordable housing units in California and requires them for all cities in the State. The proposed ZCA considered on March 10 will ensure the City’s rules and regulations for accessory dwelling units are consistent with State law.

The proposed regulations for ADUs will include:

  • ADUs are allowed in all zones that allow residential uses.
  • A single property with an existing or proposed primary dwelling can have both an ADU (attached or detached) and a junior accessory dwelling unit (JADU), which is a maximum of 500 square feet within the confines of the existing or proposed primary dwelling. If there is an existing ADU, the only other unit that can be allowed on the same lot is a JADU. There cannot be more than one ADU.
  • The inclusion of an ADU or JADU must comply with the City’s 40% lot and/or pad coverage requirement and be included with all structures in the coverage calculation, but an ADU of at least 800 square feet cannot be precluded.
  • The addition of an ADU or JADU must still preserve an open animal area equal to the allowed number of animal units on the lot in question that does not have a primary animal-keeping area (PAKA), unless such precludes the construction of an 800 square-foot ADU which shall be allowed to encroach to the minimum extent possible.
  • The maximum allowed sizes for ADUs and JADUs are as follows:
    • ADU attached: for 0-1 bedrooms the maximum floor area is 850 square feet; for more than one bedroom the maximum floor area is 1,000 square feet
    • ADU dettached: maximum floor area is 1,200 square feet
    • JADU: 500 square feet maximum.
    • If the accessory unit is created from converting existing space in the primary accessory structure, there is no size limitation.
  • All ADUs and JADUs are subject to payment of application fees. ADUs that are 750 square feet or larger are subject to impact fees. ADUs that are less than 750 square feet are exempt from impact fees.
  • All detached ADUs are required to be serviced from a separate water service and meter.

The State sees ADUs as an essential means of creating new affordable housing, considering housing production has fallen short of demand in California for decades. ADUs can also be viewed as giving homeowners the opportunity to keep extended families together while still maintaining a sense of privacy. The units can allow seniors to age in place with dignity or accommodate young adult children who are saving to live on their own. The legislation has become controversial in Norco and other low-density municipalities because many view them as eroding the character the community.

The State of California tends to apply well-intended housing legislation uniformly to all cities across the state, no matter how diverse in character those communities are. Norco is unable to opt out of these requirements, but the manner in which they are executed can mitigate their impact on the City’s quality of life.

View the official meeting agenda and staff report here.

View the Notice of Public Hearing here.

The Planning Commission Meeting on Wednesday, March 10, 2021 is closed to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions, however the public is invited to visit www.vimeo.com/cityofnorco to view the livestream of the meeting. The public may submit comments regarding items on this agenda or any matter within the jurisdiction of the Planning Commission electronically OR telephonically. Please note, the public may not speak twice on the same agenda item by using both mediums.

Electronic: Email your comments to planningcommission@ci.norco.ca.us. Please identify the item you are referencing (e.g., general public comment, 2.B, etc.). Please submit all comments before 5 p.m. for distribution to the Planning Commission. Any comments received after this deadline and before the item has closed will be read into the record during the meeting, limited to 3 minutes. Any comments received after the item has closed and before the meeting is adjourned will be maintained with the minutes of the meeting.

Telephonic: During each agenda item, the Chair will prompt the public to call (951) 582-5557 if they wish to verbally submit their comments in real time. Callers will be placed in a queue and will be alerted when their three-minute speaking period begins. Please note, the public is required to call in for each agenda item they wish to speak on. The Planning Commission requests callers abide by public decorum and use language that is appropriate for a professional, respectful public environment.

For more information, contact the Planning Department at (951) 270-5661 or planning@ci.norco.ca.us.

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