Grant Deeds Being Used to Solve Lot Coverage Restrictions

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In 2020, California passed a law that allowed homeowners to build an up to a 1,200 sq ft addition to a property (an Accessory Dwelling Unit, or ADU), regardless of HOA restrictions and set back requirements.

This allowed Association property owners to exceed the 20% lot coverage Covenant restrictions. Both existing and new homeowners could build structures up to 20% coverage and then come back later and claim the ADU allowance to build another structure, and some property owners did just that.

In response to this, the Association enacted a policy such that in any new construction or addition, if you weren’t building a 1,200 sq ft ADU, the Association would assume you would in the future and reduce your allowable lot coverage by 1,200 sq ft. For larger lots (like 2+ acres), this wasn’t much of a problem since large lots almost never bump up against the 20% coverage limitation, but for smaller lots, like ones near the village that are 0.5 acres, this caused significant problems (which is why I hate one size fits all rules, but I digress).

The building department recently came up with a solution. If you build or remodel a house without an ADU, and adding a 1,200 sq ft ADU allowance would push you over the 20% coverage number, the Association will accept a deed restriction that forbids you from building an ADU. You, and future owners, thus give up the future possibility of adding an ADU in these cases.

In the April 2022 Board meeting such a case came up where the homeowner wanted to build a pool and had no ADU, but if you added the pool lot coverage and the theoretical future ADU lot coverage, you’d get above the lot coverage restriction. So the homeowner agreed to record a deed restriction prohibiting ADU construction unless the pool were removed. The Board approved this exception to the regulations with the deed restriction by a 7-0 vote.

This is a good compromise and solves a problem many smaller property owners are having. Contact the Association’s building department if you are in a similar situation.