Building a Secondary Dwelling Unit

Monday, November 28, 2011

Some may be surprised to hear that Santa Clara County now allows “secondary dwelling units” in the front yards of lots 10,000 square feet or larger. In fact, Section 4.10.340 of the County Zoning Ordinance does not limit where this additional living unit can be located, as long as one complies with the “additional requirements”. This became effective on March 3, 2010.

I had a client who desired to build 800 square feet of detached living space for her aging parents to live in.  We initially believed that the structure would go in her back yard, however, that was a tight fit with the pool, hardscape and beautiful, established landscaping.


I was at the beginning of the design phase of this project when a visit to the County Planning Department allowed us to discover the additional option for the new dwelling space.  Now the project is nearly complete, and this new secondary dwelling unit is situated in the front of the original house, looking like it belongs there!

Thanks for reading. I'm here to solve your architectural problems with bright ideas and creative solutions.

Allen Niktin
Los Gatos Architect
(408) 354-3575


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