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An ADU is an Accessory Dwelling Unit. It is a separate unit on a property that has a single-family home, apartment, or other residential use. ADUs can go by many different names, including granny flats, in-law units, backyard cottages, secondary units, and more. The key difference between an ADU and other types of structures, such as pool cabanas, is they have living space, bedroom(s), and a kitchen. An ADU can be attached to the main home, the garage, or can be a standalone structure.
A JADU is a Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit. A JADU is different than an ADU in that they have to be part of an existing home and they have size restrictions. They can share the use of parts of the home, such as the bathrooms, and can have simpler kitchens with smaller appliances. JADUs are only allowed on a property with a single-family home on it, and the property owner has to live in either the single-family home or in the JADU. Development costs for a JADU are typically lower than an ADU.
If your property is in a residential zone (e.g., R-1, R-2, R-3) or mixed-use zone that allows residential and has an existing residential use on it, then the answer is yes.
Single-Family Properties - All single-family homes can have one ADU. Additionally, properties with single-family homes that are owner-occupied can have one ADU and one JADU with a recorded statement that the property owner will occupy one of the units.
Multi-Family Properties – There are a few ADU options for multi-family properties. You may select one from the following three options:
You may also need an Administrative Coastal Development Permit for an ADU that is in the Coastal Zone. Contact the Planning Division for more information if you think that your proposed location may be in the Coastal Zone.
If you are building a new ADU that will be detached from the main residence or building(s), the ADU needs to be at least 4 feet from the side and rear property lines and maintain the front yard setback required in the zone of the property. (See Example Illustration).
A minimum 10-foot separation is needed between the new ADU and the main residence or other structures.
Setbacks do not apply when converting an existing accessory structure, like a garage, pool house, or detached recreation room into an ADU. Enlarging or modifying an existing structure for an ADU would require meeting the setbacks.
An ADU that is attached to the main residence must follow the same setbacks as the main residence.
Existing accessory structures such as garages, sheds, and barns can be converted into an ADU when following the appropriate guidelines.
Maximum heights only apply when building a new ADU or expanding an existing structure for an ADU:
One parking space (tandem, covered, or uncovered) is required on the property, in addition to the parking required for the main residence/unit(s), except if any of the following apply:
No, the City’s zoning regulations and overlays cannot prevent you from building an ADU or a JADU. For example: if the Hillside Height Overlay restricts the height of structures on a property to less than 16 feet, the ADU can still be up to 16 feet tall, and a variance is not required.
Generally, the design of the ADU should be compatible using similar colors and materials to the main residence or building(s) on the property.
ADU’s are not allowed in the high and very high fire hazard areas; however, JADUs are allowed.
You can begin the ADU process by speaking with the Planning Division to get information on whether your property allows an ADU and the applicable requirements.
Plans will then need to be created by a design professional to submit to Permit Services, along with the permit application and fees.