Amnesty for Accessory Dwelling Units
Posted Date: December 19, 2006


Regulatory Barriers Clearinghouse
Strategy-of-the-Month Club
December 2006
Local governments often encourage the development of
accessory dwelling units (second units) to provide
housing opportunities for lower income households.
Accessory dwellings units can be either house
extensions, apartments, or even in some cases, small-
detached units that provide for additional
independent living units in areas zoned only for single-
family residential. In some cases these units are
prohibited, but several jurisdictions have established
procedures for legally permitting such units. However,
many communities experiencing severe affordable housing
shortages may find that they already have a number of
illegally constructed second units. As such,
California's Marin County Board of Supervisors approved
a Second Unit Amnesty Program, which takes effect
January 1 through December 31, 2007. The purpose of the
program is to:
o Ensure that existing second units are safe and
o Increase the housing stock to meet the county's
affordable housing needs; and,
o Encourage the development of new second units and
the legalization of existing units by reducing
permit fees by 50 percent for the duration of the
The program is expected to save existing second units,
which would otherwise be lost through code enforcement
If you'd like to know more, an abstract and the original
resolution can be found
We hope this information proves useful to you in your
efforts to create affordable housing. If you have
regulatory reform strategies or resources that you'd
like to share, send us an email at,
call us at 1-800-245-2691 (option 4), or visit our
website at
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