Contra Costa County has a new ordinance covering the building of accessory dwelling units (ADU's) or second-units in accordance with a new State law governing such construction. The goal of the State law is to increase affordable housing. The law says that ADU's (meeting standards) must be approved ministerially without public input or review, while allowing local jurisdictions such as the County to regulate some building elements such as size.
Kensington is unique in the County in having its own planning ordinance which provides protection to views, light, privacy and size, among other factors, and strikes a balance between the rights of property owners and impacts to neighbors. Kensington residents steered the development of the ordinance, adopted in 2004.
The County's new ADU ordinance includes standards specific for Kensington in accordance with community characteristics underlying the planning ordinance, such as the average small lot size, high density, and hillside location.