Accessory Dwelling Unit Regulations


An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a second living unit located on the same lot as a single-family home in the R1 (Single-Family) Zoning district. They are also referred to as granny units, in-law units, or companion units. ADU's typically contain a bathroom, one or two bedrooms, a kitchen and, sometimes, a garage or carport. ADU's provide housing opportunities within single-family neighborhoods and are either attached to or separated from the main home. 

State Accessory Dwelling Unit Regulations

In September 2016, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill (SB) 1069 and Assembly Bill (AB) 2299, amending Section 65852.2 of the Government Code. Effective January 1, 2017, this amendment provided exceptions to the amount of required parking, allowed conversion of existing garages, reduced building setbacks, and limited fire sprinkler and water meter requirements for all ADUs. These amendments reduce barriers and streamline approval of ADU's in all California cities. See the Senate Bill and California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) Memo summarizing the law for more information.

In 2019, the Governor signed into law new regulations that impact accessory dwelling unit regulations statewide, which became effective January 1, 2020. The City is currently reviewing the new law(s) and how it may impact the City's adopted ADU regulations. 


Amendments to the City's current ADU regulations will be discussed at the following meeting:

  • City Council Public Hearing on March 24, 2020 at 6:30 p.m., or as soon thereafter, in the Council Chambers located at 500 Castro Street. The meeting agenda and materials will be available online the Friday prior to the meeting. The Environmental Planning Commission held a Public Hearing on March 4, 2020 and recommended the City Council approve the proposed zoning text amendments regarding ADU regulations.

 If you have any questions or comments, please contact Brittany Whitehill, Assistant Planner, at 650-903-6306 or     

Current City regulations

On March 28, 2017, the City Council adopted Zoning Ordinance text amendments for new companion unit regulations to align with State requirements. Meeting agenda and staff report are available online (Item 6.1). The regulations went into effect on May 25, 2017.

City ADU Regulations

While no Planning Permit is required, all new ADUs require building permits. The City encourages all applicants to review preliminary ADU plans with Planning & Building staff at the Public Counter to ensure the project meets all requirements.


For questions regarding the ADU regulations, please contact the Planning Division by phone at (650) 903-6306 or by email.