Effective January 1, 2017, local laws regarding Secondary Dwelling Units were superseded. State law now mandates that local jurisdictions ease restrictions and barriers to the permitting and use of what are now referred to as Accessory Dwelling Units (“ADUs”). Continue reading
The Power to Plan
Local agencies derive their authority to shape their communities through planning and land use from the “police power.” The source of this power is both the federal and California constitutions. The police power is broad and elastic and entitles cities and counties to take actions to protect the public’s general health, safety, and welfare. However, in most cases local regulations may not conflict with overriding state law.
Local authority to regulate land use can expand to meet the changing conditions or priorities of society. Thus, actions that might not have been thought of as part of the general welfare a century ago (for example, curbing sprawl or promoting affordable housing) can fall within its purview today. Continue reading
Entitlement is approval from governmental agencies to use or develop a parcel of land. Approval may depend on many factors—including the building’s use and size, appearance, historic status, and environmental impact—overseen by separate agencies. The process is especially complex in cities, where land is scarce and land values are high, which makes development a risky proposition. Development means change, and there are many who resist change, often for valid reasons. Opinions are strong. In such challenging circumstances, the most effective tool for gaining approval is a good design. Continue reading
The 2016 Edition of Title 24, the California Building Standards has become effective as of January 1, 2017. The codes are revised every three years and are in conjunction primarily with the Code Change Cycle for the International Family of Codes and other Standards.
You’ve hired your architect to design a building for you. Whether it’s a new building or a renovation, before the architect puts pen to paper or mouse to pad, there’s a lot of information to gather and assess. The most important decisions are the early ones: what to build, how much to build, where to build. It is crucial that these early decisions be well informed. That’s what the phase known as Pre-Design is for. Let’s look at the essential considerations. Continue reading
Tenant improvements (TI) turn commercial spaces into places where businesses can thrive. These design and construction projects can vary in scope—from building out previously unused square footage to completely gutting and remodeling a space for a new use. The prospect of creating the perfect space for a business is often exciting but can also be overwhelming, especially for those business owners who haven’t previously gone through the commercial design and construction process. Continue reading
Both approaches have merit. If your heart is set on a Spanish style adobe home, obtaining a heavily treed lot may not make sense for you. Continue reading