Blog Come support second-story ADUs in Redwood City on June 18th

June 17, 2019

This coming Tuesday June 18th at 7pm, Redwood City’s Planning Commission will be holding a public hearing about a proposal to make it more difficult to add Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). The meeting will be held at Redwood City City Hall, 1017 Middlefield Road in Redwood City.  You can view the agenda and materials here.

Especially in the case of smaller lot sizes, one smart way to build ADUs is to add them on top of an existing one-story garage on the property.  A small group of residents in Redwood City have organized in an effort to make this second-story option much less available and attractive for their fellow homeowners to build.  They propose height limits and incentivizing single-story ADUs over second-story units. We believe this will result in the creation of fewer new ADU homes and are strongly against this proposed change.

We encourage renters, homeowners, and other housing supporters to join us at the meeting to share feedback and stories in support of this valuable piece of the housing mix.

For more on ADUs and the proposed change, read on…

Since 2017, California state and local governments have been updating regulations to make it easier than ever for homeowners to build ADUs.  We’re excited about this — ADUs provide more opportunities for housing that can provide benefits such as:

  • Multi-generational family housing
  • Space for a caretaker to live with a family
  • Room for aging homeowners to live in a smaller, smartly-designed unit and rent out their main house — providing income and independence without having to leave their community

There are many reasons people are so excited about ADUs:

  • They’re thoughtfully developed by homeowners who manage them personally.  In nearly all cases, ADU owners are required to live in either the primary residence or the ADU itself.  As the person living closest to the unit, ADU owners are highly motivated to make the ADU situation a great one for both themselves and their neighbors.
  • Second-story ADUs blend in well, often matching the height of the main residence and other surrounding homes.  They also allow residents to leave vegetation and trees where they are, instead of tearing it out to build more one-story housing.
  • Silicon Valley’s housing crisis means that many local workers commute in from up to two hours away.  ADUs are a fantastic solution that allows workers to live locally in the communities where they work, thereby reducing traffic, emissions, and stress for everyone.
  • Smaller homes overall have less of a carbon footprint, with only 60% of the carbon emissions of a “normal sized” counterpart.  Small living is lightweight living!
  • Research shows that ADU residents tend to drive less, especially when near transit, downtowns, and services, or are inhabited by “ageing in place” seniors.  This benefits traffic, parking, and overall carbon emissions by reducing the amount of driving residents need to do.
  • Adding more rental stock to the mix also reduces displacement of those who live in our communities today.

Please help us advocate for second story ADUs on Tuesday:

When: Tuesday, June 18, 7pm

Where: 1017 Middlefield Road, Redwood City, CA 94063

What: Encourage the Planning Commission to not pass height limitations on ADUs, or incentives that favor single-story ADUs only.

And whether or not you can make it, please contact the Redwood City Planning Commission to voice your support:

By email:

By phone: (650) 780-7234