Available to City of Arroyo Grande Homeowners

Pre-Designed ADU Tour

Brian Pedrotti, director of Arroyo Grande's Community Development Department answers some questions asked by attendees at the tour.

Arroyo Grande is one of several cities in SLO County to have pre-approved ADU designs. For homeowners who are looking to build an ADU, these plans can potentially save thousands of dollars in design fees and other expenses.

On Saturday, May 25, 2024, Smart Share teamed up with the City of Arroyo Grande and organized a tour of one such pre-designed ADU that was nearly completed. About 50 people toured the 446 square foot California Modern studio to get a better understanding of how the 2D drawings could turn out in 3D life.

A huge thank you to owners, Michelle and Jami, for opening their home and sharing their experience with us. Read on and/or watch the video below to get your own private tour by Michelle and learn about her experience.

Q: What were your goals in building this ADU?

A: My wife and I wanted to be able to provide workforce housing and do it quickly. Our main focus was turn around time, or speed to market. From the time we had the permit in hand to the day we got the certificate of occupancy was about 5 months, with a one month delay for rain. We imagine renting this one bedroom ADU to folks who are relocating to this area for work and need a little time to get established before investing in their own home.

Q: How much of a benefit was the pre-designed plan?

A: The pre-designed plan was a huge help in speeding up the process. I also estimate that we saved about $14,000 in design fees by using the pre-designed plan. The pre-designed plan also made it simpler to meet the California Green Building Code, Title 24.

Michelle used Ikea cabinets in her kitchen and paid a designer who specializes in designing with Ikea products $325 to help her with the design.

 Q: Why did you choose this plan?

A: I chose the California Modern design for several reasons. The shed-style roof meant that we could pick up everything we needed at the local lumber yard. We didn't have to special-order trusses. While this particular plan was designed to be a studio, we were able to put up a partition wall to create a bedroom without impacting the structural integrity of the building and triggering an additional review process. With this plan, using the stucco finish, it was pretty simple to get the fire rating we needed as well.

Q: What recommendations would you make for people who are considering using one of these pre-designed plans?

A: Take the time leading up to the actual build to think through all the design details: colors, styles, finishes, etc. Make sure you have made as many decisions as possible before the contractor starts working, because once they start, time is money, and you'll feel the pressure to make decisions quickly. And that's when you're more likely to make mistakes. And pay attention to the little details, like having doors open outwards to save space, or closing off the loft in the design to hide the venting and other "back of house" items people don't really like looking at. It's worth it to hire a professional designer to help you through these kinds of decisions. You'll save money in the long run and be happier with the end result.

"The tour was super helpful to be able to visualize the space. It's perfect for one person." —Tour Attendee

Exterior view of the 446 square foot California Modern pre-designed ADU with several tour attendees listening to Michelle talk about her experience building the ADU.

Watch the video below to get your own personal tour of the ADU.

ADU Workshops in Arroyo Grande

We've finished our workshops for now, but you can view the presentation slides at this link, or using the button below.

Over 87 people attended our Arroyo Grande ADU workshops in spring 2024. At least 20 people scheduled free site feasibility visits, which are currently underway.

Back-to-Back Workshops were held in the City Council Chambers from 10am-noon on Wednesday, April 24 and Saturday, April 27. Smart Share Housing Solutions & Arroyo Grande City planning staff presented information about design, permitting, finance, and construction of ADUs & THOWs.

Smart Share Housing Solutions has an American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant from the City of Arroyo Grande to enhance affordable accessory dwelling unit production in the City. The program aims to: 1) assist lower-income homeowners to produce ADUs; and 2) to create lower cost ADUs that can be rented to lower income residents or family members for affordable rents.

Join the Smart Share mailing list to receive more information on upcoming free community workshops, backyard feasibility visits and other activities. Site feasibility visits and ADU information services will be limited to City of Arroyo Grande homeowners only.

"It was a great introductory presentation. Exactly what I needed."


In 2023 and 2024 we were pleased to welcome over 207 enthusiastic and very interested Arroyo Grande homeowners to our workshops. Attendees received a wealth of information about Design, Permitting, Finance, and Construction of ADUs & THOWs from Smart Share staff and the City of Arroyo Grande City planning staff.

If you missed these workshops and/or would like to review the Presentation, click on the button below for the "How to ADU" Slides:


  • Casita Coalition has a wealth of information regarding "Legalizing Unpermitted ADUs", "ADU Financing Guide For the Homeowners", and "Guide to Garage Conversions" -
  • HelloADU's programs are designed to support homeowners through every phase of the design and construction process creating housing stability for existing homeowners while adding new rental units that are affordable to a median-income tenant:

PROJECT DESCRIPTION. The project has multiple parts over two years, 2023 and 2024.

  1. May/June 2023 - Community Outreach & Education – website information and 5 free public workshops for City of Arroyo Grande homeowners.
  2. Summer/Fall 2023 - Technical, site (backyard) feasibility visits. 
  3. Spring 2024 - Two free workshop days plus free feasibility visits. 

Check back for more community educational workshops and homeowner feasibility assistance.


An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is an attached or detached residential dwelling unit that provides complete, independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, sanitation, and parking, and is located on a lot with a proposed or existing dwelling.


Movable tiny houses are typically separate, independent living quarters with the following characteristics:

  • No larger than 400 square feet
  • Mounted on a wheeled trailer frame
  • Includes basic functional areas that support normal daily routines, including a bathroom, kitchen, and sleeping area
  • Designed and built to look like a conventional single-family house
  • Utilizes conventional building materials


Pre-reviewed plans have been drawn by licensed architects and have already been cleared by the building department to be safe. Sets of these plans are available free for Arroyo Grande homeowners and can save thousands of dollars of design fees and reduce permitting and processing costs and time.  The unit sizes range from a 316 square foot studio to a 1,007 square foot two-bedroom unit and are available in four different architectural styles, shown below (L to R): Backyard Craftsman, California Modern, Beach Bungalow, and Coastal Ranch.

For a complete list of the various sizes and design types of Arroyo Grande pre-reviewed plans, see here:
Enter in your address and contact info in the form to get detailed plan sets emailed to you.


Workshop description: ADU workshops are for City of Arroyo Grande homeowners considering constructing an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) in their backyards.

Consider constructing an ADU in the city? Join Smart Share Housing and City planning staff at a workshop to learn more about what's possible and how to do it:

  • Types of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Tiny Houses On Wheels (THOWs)
  • What's allowed–setbacks, size, height, fees and fee waivers
  • Design–pre-reviewed plans and other designs
  • Cost & financing–be prepared; it may be more than you think
  • Permitting–how to, start to finish
  • Construction–choosing a builder or contractor
  • Rental management–things to consider, e.g. insurance, maintenance, property taxes and finding renters that are right for you

Visit Smart Share Housing Solutions Events page for upcoming Events. Sign up for e-newsletters on our Contact page to get the latest news delivered to your in-box!