The Goleta Planning Commission approved a permanent ordinance for accessory dwelling unit regulations Monday evening to replace the urgency ordinance that the Goleta City Council adopted in December to remain consistent with state laws that went into effect on Jan. 1.

Senate Bill 897, relating to ADUs, was signed into law last year and went into effect on Jan.1. Because Goleta’s previous ADU regulations were not consistent with the new state regulations, all of the city’s ADU regulations would be rendered void, giving the city less control over ADUs.

To address that, the City Council adopted an urgency ordinance on Dec. 20, 2022, that went into effect immediately, but the city now needs a permanent non-urgency ordinance that goes through the public review process.

Some of the changes that were made to Goleta’s ADU regulations to become consistent with SB 897 include changes to height requirements, not limiting an ADU to less than 800 square feet — even if that means reducing the front setback — requiring comments and remedies for ADU permit denials, changes to junior ADU regulations, and more.

The city also added a requirement for income reporting for people living in ADUs in order to track affordability, and instead of a land use permit being required, a new “ADU permit” will be required.

More information on the ADU regulations and changes can be found in the item’s staff report here.

Now that the Goleta Planning Commission has approved the ordinance, it will go to the Goleta City Council next, which will hold additional public hearings before adopting the permanent ADU regulations ordinance.

Serena Guentz, Noozhawk Staff Writer

Noozhawk staff writer Serena Guentz can be reached at