Town Council Study Session on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

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On July 11, 2018, the Town Council held a study session about Accessory Dwelling Units (also known as ADUs or second units). This study session was in response to suggestions from residents who participated in the May 5th Community Conversation focused on ADUs and was designed to allow the Council to provide the Planning Commission the priority list for their work on ADUs in the next few months. It is anticipated that the Council will review the Commission’s work for potential adoption by the beginning of next year.

To kick off the discussion, staff shared information about the Town’s current second unit regulations and shared a list of ideas that could be considered to encourage new second unit construction. None of the staff-generated ideas were recommendations; instead, they were offered to provide the maximum number of ideas that could be considered.

The Council also heard from residents who attended the meeting, who overwhelmingly supported efforts to expand second unit opportunities.

The Council ultimately directed the Planning Commission to research and consider the following as high priority items:

  1. Expand second unit opportunities to all of the Town’s zoning district
  2. Review floor area calculations on lots to encourage second units
  3. Examine reduction of design elements requiring ASCC approval
  4. Reduce parking requirements and allow for sharing of existing parking on properties (i.e., second unit parking in a guest space)
  5. Review alternative building types, including pre-approval of prefab units
  6. Allow second addresses, which would allow for separate utility panels

The Council also recommended that the Planning Commission review potential changes as they related to one another, and not separately.

Planning Commission to Hold Meeting on ADUs - Ongoing Meetings

The Planning Commission is holding regular meetings to give staff feedback on possible ADU policy changes and help develop draft code language.

The next Planning Commission meeting on ADUs is scheduled for Wednesday, December 19, 2018, at 7:00 pm in the Historic School House. We hope that you can come and/or share your ideas with the Planning Commission by sending your thoughts to, by Tuesday, December 18th.

Download the Flyer or Meeting Agenda for additional information



Please correct the field(s) marked in red below:

What ideas from the July 11th study session resonated with you (choose as many as you'd like)? 
What ideas from the July 11th study session resonated with you (choose as many as you'd like)?

What concerns do you have about increasing second unit opportunities in Portola Valley?


What else should the Town Council be considering? 

Is it ok if we share your feedback on the Town website (anonymously)?
Is it ok if we share your feedback on the Town website (anonymously)?
Would you like to be added to our email list to receive information on future conversations/events on second units? If so, please provide your email address below.
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