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.
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.”