Placer County updating secondary dwelling unit rules

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When California lawmakers updated the rules with secondary housing units last year, passing Assembly Bill 2299 and Senate Bill 1069, they did something that invalidated Placer County’s rules.

A clause was included in state law that if a local jurisdiction was found to have a related ordinance that was inconsistent with state rules for secondary dwellings, the entire local ordinance would be null and void.

This has led Placer County to update its rules for secondary housing units, said Shawna Purvines, a principal planner for the county’s Community Development Resources Agency.

“When we have a code that is now considered null and void, that is important to Placer County because second units are also viewed here as (a source for) affordable housing,” Purvines said. “We wanted to make sure that we got our ordinance back into place.”

A county presentation, available online, notes that these units can be “attached, detached, or located within the existing dwelling or accessory structure,” and, if detached, be up to 1,200 square feet.

Purvines said approximately 15 to 16 of these units per year are built in the unincorporated part of Placer County.

She said that during the time that the county’s ordinance was null and void, people could still apply to build the units.

“They were still able to apply,” Purvines said. “They just defaulted to the state minimum reqs.”