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Community Development News

Posted on: August 29, 2023

Nevada County’s Draft Accessory Dwelling Unit Guidebook Available for Review

Review Draft  Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Guidebook

Nevada County residents are invited to give feedback on the draft accessory dwelling unit (ADU) guidebook being created specifically for Nevada County. Please review the guidebook online at and provide comments by September 18, 2023, at 5 p.m. by emailing Coming later this fall, the Planning Department will release a full suite of ADU resources, including the final ADU guidebook and cost calculator. 

ADUs (also known as “granny flats” or “in-law units”) come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can range from prefabricated units to brand-new additions that are attached to or detached from the main home. They can range in size from a 150-square-foot studio to 1,200 square-foot unit with multiple bedrooms.  

To encourage ADUs throughout the region, the guidebook and associated tools are being developed through the Mother Lode ADU, a partnership between the Counties of Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa, and Nevada. This project is funded by the California Department of Housing and Community Development’s Regional Early Action Planning grant. 

“We (Mother Lode ADU) want to remove the surprises and better prepare homeowners to take on building an ADUs on their property. ADUs are a great way to increase housing throughout the region,” explained Associate Planner Marie Maniscalco. She went on, “This is a very exciting opportunity to get the community involved and allow us to better tailor this guidebook to Nevada County’s needs.” 

Residents and homeowners are also invited to attend Nevada County’s Collaboration Day, where community resources, local business owners, and members of various county agencies will be available to answer questions and share their expertise in county programs, fire preparedness, and land development. This event runs from 2 pm – 6 pm Friday, September 8 at the Rood Center, 950 Maidu, Nevada City, CA. Interested residents and homeowners will also be able to visit a prefabricated ADU, learn more about the Mother Lode ADU planning tools, and visit with members of the Planning Department who can field input and feedback on the ADU guidebook.

If you need some inspiration to start a project like this, one local success story comes from Richard in Nevada City, who converted a workshop on his property into an ADU; photos and a virtual tour of Richard’s ADU will be available online later this fall:

“While my mother-in-law lived here, we loved spending time in the ADU. Now that our kids are grown and have children of their own, they stay in the ADU when they visit and have a comfortable, private space. As my wife and I grow older we might move into the ADU and rent out the larger house or give it to our children. We’ve rented out the ADU over the years and had great experiences with our tenants. We’ve met so many interesting people, and we’re still friends with some of them. I'm proud of the ADU, it's a beautiful space and we use it to meet so many different needs for our family and the community.”

If you have an ADU or are considering building an ADU, please review the guidebook on the website ( and provide feedback on the materials being created specifically for Nevada County by September 18, 2023, at 5 p.m. 

Mother Lode ADU Resources: Those interested in learning more about ADUs, should bookmark the website and stay tuned for more resources coming later this fall (guidebook, cost calculator, website, contractor list, and development checklist).

The new Mother Lode ADU website will walk people through all the steps needed to build an ADU, and includes a host of tools that will make the process easier.

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