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Oceanside ADUs are facing revised regulations.
The Oceanside City Council approved revisions to the city's existing ADU regulations. Rendering courtesy of Orbit Homes

Oceanside revises ADU regulations to ban certain locks, limit units

OCEANSIDE — The Oceanside City Council recently cleaned up existing laws regulating accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, to prevent excessive units on single parcels and unauthorized accommodations.

The council’s approved revisions include prohibiting ADUs, or junior ADUs (units that are part of the existing single-family home) in combination with Senate Bill 9 projects. SB 9 allows homeowners to split their single-family residential lot into two separate lots and build up to two new housing units on each.

“If ADUs and junior ADUs were allowed, that could make for a total of eight units in those lots,” said Senior Planner Rob Dmohowski. “With the revision, it would be limited to two units per parcel.”

Other revisions include requiring homeowners to live in the single-family home with a junior ADU as their primary residence, additional methods of building ADUs and junior ADUs, and a ban on using double-cylinder deadbolt locks.

Dmohowski explained that double-cylinder deadbolt locks require keys to both sides of a door. These locks are typically used to partition off a room, similar to adjoining hotel rooms, which have been used in town to create illegally subdivided homes. The provision is not a state mandate but rather something that staff came up with as a means of addressing the issue.

Oceanside ADUs
The revisions include prohibiting ADUs or JADUs that are part of the existing single-family home in combination with Senate Bill 9 projects. Rendering courtesy of Orbit Homes

ADUs have been steadily increasing in Oceanside. According to Dmohowski, the city has had 350 ADU applications since 2018, with just 123 last year and another 20 as of this year.

“The proposed revisions will remove ambiguities and provide better implementation of ADU provisions,” Dmohowski said. “The changes will strengthen the effectiveness of the ADU ordinance and assist with enforcement of conditions of approval.”

The revisions were approved by a 4-1 vote with Councilmember Kori Jensen solely opposed. She took issue with the deadbolt prohibition, noting that neighbors could unnecessarily complain and invade the privacy of residents over their locks.

The deadbolt prohibition would only be enforced on a complaint basis.

“I’m not comfortable with that,” Jensen said.

City Attorney John Mullen noted that the city cannot just enter a home without approval from the homeowner. The city could obtain a warrant in more egregious situations, Mullen said, but such a case is rare.

Deputy Mayor Ryan Keim said the revisions were important to approve, especially the SB 9 revision because it prevents “turning a single-family home into a triplex.”

1 comment

DylanW February 21, 2022 at 2:34 pm

A lot of people have misconstrued notions about SB 9 and what it does and doesn’t allow. The truth is, it’s going to have a very modest impact. The law is designed to help homeowners add an extra unit or two to their own property, and there are provisions in the state law to help ensure that’s how it’s used. This blog post does a good job explaining some of the common misconceptions about the law:

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