ADUs and SB-9 in Woodside Hills
February 9th, 2022
The Woodside Hills Homes Association (WHHA) Board of Directors and Architectural Board have received several inquiries regarding the association’s policies and procedures related to accessory dwelling units (ADUs). The laws governing ADUs have changed in the past few years and the changes have created some confusion regarding the role of the Association’s CC&Rs and architectural review process. We hope this letter will provide some clarity regarding the Association’s approach to dealing with ADU architectural applications moving forward.
California Senate Bill 1333, which was signed into law in 2018, removed many of the restrictions cities and counties had imposed on homeowners seeking to construct ADUs within their lots. In August of 2019, Assembly Bill 670 was signed into law to void certain types of CC&Rs provisions which restrict ADUs. The specific statute added by AB 670 is California Civil Code Section 4751, which makes CC&Rs and related architectural restrictions which prohibit or unreasonably restrict the construction or use of ADUs void and unenforceable. However, the types of CC&Rs that are rendered void by AB 670 are limited to “planned developments” subject to the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act (California Civil Code Section 4000 et seq.). Condominium projects and residential developments like Woodside Hills (which are not planned developments, even though the development has a homeowner’s association) were not included in AB 670 and therefore the CC&Rs and related architectural rules for the Association are still applicable and enforceable with respect to ADUs.
WHHA Board asked whether it would be appropriate to treat AB 670 as being applicable to Woodside Hills, even though it is not subject to the Davis-Stirling Act. The Association’s legal counsel has indicated that is not how the courts interpret the language of the Davis-Stirling Act. In That v. Alders Maintenance Corporation (2012) 206 Cal. App.4th 1419, the Court stated, 'This court has no power to rewrite the statute so as to make it conform to a presumed intention which is not expressed.'… We sympathize with defendant's position on this issue and agree that the legislature should amend the statute … But we must rule on the statute before us, ….” With this legal precedent in mind, the Association’s architectural review process will continue to uphold the Association’s existing ADU design and setback requirements.
ADUs are certainly encouraged within our neighborhood so long as they are built according to the rules that were accepted by purchasing a home here with the CC&Rs in place. The large parcels have allowed many ADU-style structures to be built over the years. If it is the desire of the community-at-large to allow building that varies from the current CC&Rs, the CC&Rs describe a process through which they can be changed.
On January 1, 2022, California Senate Bill 9 went into effect. This law requires cities and counties to permit single-family parcels to be sub-divided regardless of zoning. Similar to the ADU law, SB9 does not alter the restrictions in our CC&Rs, which remain effective. While WHHA CC&Rs do not prevent sub-dividing of lots, they do require a 1-acre minimum lot and so only 2+ acre parcels may be subdivided.
As always, please contact WHHA when you are considering a new project. firstname.lastname@example.org is the best email to start your conversation.
Unanimously signed by:
Board of Directors, Woodside Hills Homes Association
Architectural Board, Woodside Hills Homes Association