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Commonwealth's Counties

Bill to Make ADUs a By-Right Use Passes in Committee

SB 304 (Salim) passed in the Senate Local Government Committee on February 5 by a vote of 8-6-1 and will be considered on the Senate floor later this week. VACo opposes SB 304.

Action Required – Contact members of the Senate to vote “NO” on SB 304.

The legislation, as amended in committee, mandates all localities permit accessory dwelling units (ADUs) as an accessory use in residential zoning districts. The legislation also prohibits a locality from requiring rear or side setbacks for the ADU that are greater than the setback required for the primary dwelling, or four feet, whichever is less.

Additionally, the legislation limits what a locality may require to the following:

  • No more than one ADU to be located on a lot;
  • A rental period for such ADU of at least 30 days;
  • Replacement of a primary dwelling’s required parking if the construction of the ADU eliminates such parking;
  • Square footage of the ADU not to exceed 1,500 square feet or 50 percent of the primary dwelling’s square footage, whichever is less; and
  • Compliance with (i) building codes; (ii) water, sewer, septic, and stormwater requirements; and (iii) historic and architectural districts and corridor protection restrictions.


  • Local governments have the authority to allow for the inclusion of ADUs within their zoning ordinances and determine the context of where ADUs can be reasonably accommodated to meet the needs of residents and homeowners.
  • A mandate to authorize an ADU in all single-family zoning districts excludes input from citizens and communities on whether, and how, ADUs can fit within existing and proposed residential developments.

VACo Contact: Joe Lerch, AICP

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