Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

ADU (pixabay.com)

What is an ADU?

Commonly known as a second unit, granny flat, or in-law unit, an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is defined as "an attached or a detached residential dwelling unit which provides complete independent living facilities for one or more persons." By definition, an ADU includes permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation.

Background

In 2016 and 2017, Governor Brown signed into law several pieces of legislation limiting local control over the regulation of ADUs. In response to the changes in state law and after Planning Commission input, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 17-03 and 18-02

Urgency Ordinance 19-11

During the 2019 legislative session, Governor Newson signed into law a number of new bills related to ADUs. On December 19, 2019, the City Council adopted Urgency Ordinance 19-11 temporarily updating the City’s regulations regarding Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) to conform with new state law that became effective January 1, 2020. Urgency Ordinance 19-11 distinguishes between streamlined ADUs and standard ADUs:

Streamlined ADUs

Streamlined ADU’s are not subject to the City’s non-discretionary standards such as floor area ratio (FAR) regulations, height limits, parking requirements, or environmental protection overlays. There are four types of streamlined ADUs.

  1. ADUs within existing single-family dwellings or accessory structures:
    • Small (<150 square-feet) addition allowed to accessory structures to accommodate ingress/egress.
    • Allowed one ADU and one JADU (Junior ADU).
    • JADUs can be no larger than 500 square-feet and must be contained entirely within a single-famiiy structure (California Government Code Section 65852.22).
  2. New, detached ADUs
    • Minimum 4’ side and rear yard setback provided that the height does not exceed 16’.
    • Must be smaller than 800 square-feet.
  3. ADUs within existing, non-living space within a multifamily dwelling (up to 25% of the number of existing units).
  4. Up to 2 new, detached ADUs on lots with multifamily dwellings.

All Streamlined ADUs

  • Parking: No parking space required.
  • Short-term Rental: No short-term rental allowed in streamlined ADU.

Standard ADUs

Standard ADUs are subject to the City’s standard non-discretionary standards such as FAR regulations, height limits, parking requirements, or environmental protection overlays, with certain state-mandated modifications. 

  • Setbacks: Minimum 4’ side and rear yard setback. No minimum setback for conversions or replacement structures.
  • Size: Maximum of 850 square-feet for a one-bedroom. Maximum of 1,000 square-feet for more than one bedroom.  
  • Parking: Required 1 parking space per ADU, except for units located within 1/2 mile walking distance from transit, that are part of a new single-family residence, or meet other state-specified conditions. No replacement parking required when an existing garage is converted into an ADU.
  • Height: Maximum 16’ building height for any portion of an ADU located within the side or rear yard setback of the underlying zoning district, but not less than 4’ from the property line. 

Fees

No impact fees are assessed for ADUs smaller than 750 square-feet. Impact fees for ADUs larger than 750 square-feet are assessed proportionally in relation to the square-footage of the primary dwelling unit. Plan check fees are due for all ADUs. 

Please see the Building Permits page for more detail on obtaining a building permit for an ADU.