What is an ADU?

Benefits and regulations around these multi-purpose suites

Can you guess the hottest accessory for spring here at Trilogy? Hint: It’s not those jelly sandals resurrected from the ‘80s, or polka dot bangle bracelets, or even those persistent fanny packs back for another season. It’s the ADU! 

What is an ADU?

Otherwise known as “secondary suites,” ADU stands for Accessory Dwelling Unit. These handy little buildings are located on residential properties and can be used as a guest house, a rental unit, a backyard office, and so much more.

Unlike main houses or cottages, they have a smaller footprint but still usually contain a kitchen, bathroom, and a sleeping area. ADUs usually fall into one of three categories:

  • Detached: The unit is separate from the main residence.
  • Attached: The unit is attached to the main residence. 
  • Repurposed: The unit has been created from a repurposed structure, like a shed, into an independent living area. 

Benefits of an ADU

Wondering why you should build an ADU? These little units are the Swiss Army Knives of housing. They can be multi-purpose and adapt to different uses and needs. Or you can build one for a dedicated purpose, like generating income or housing an aging family member.

ADU ideas:

  • A Rec Room: Give the little ones (or big adults) their own play space.
  • A Guest Room: Perfect for planned guests or surprise visitors. 
  • Home Office: Give yourself the gift of professional privacy.
  • Home Business: Create a dedicated space for clients to visit. 
  • “Granny Suite”: Ideal for those who want to help a family member age-in-place
  • Rental: Add more income to your life by building a self-contained suite to rent out. 

Who can build an ADU? 

Luckily for homeowners, the State of California’s ADU guidelines have made building one easier than ever. They even offer a JADU (Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit) option for homeowners who want to build a small stand-alone or attached unit less than 500 square feet. 

What kind of ADUs are allowed in Butte County?

In Butte County, new ADU ordinances allow up to 3 units on a homeowner’s property, with rear yard setbacks of no less than 4 feet. For those interested in building an ADU in Paradise, the town even offers free building plans along with an Informational Guidebook to get you started.

Detached ADUs in Paradise can be:

  • 850 sq ft maximum for a 1 bedroom
  • 1000 sq ft maximum for a 2 bedroom

Just keep in mind square footage maximums are limited by Septic and ADU zoning regulations.

Attached ADUs can be: 

  • No larger than 50% net floor area of the main residence
  • 850 square feet or smaller for a one-bedroom dwelling
  • 1000 square feet or smaller for a 2-bedroom dwelling

Let Trilogy help you get started

At Trilogy, we always say “If you can dream it, we can build it.” This holds especially true for the ADU!

For over 50 years, we’ve been known as experts at building many different home types, including ADUs! So whether you want to have your very own “she-shed,” art studio, or other special space, we can help you make it happen. Contact us today to find out how! 

Whatever you're building...

Let's do it together.
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