What is aN ACCESSORY DWELLING UNIT?
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.
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 will become effective in 2020. The City is currently reviewing the new law(s) and how it may impact the City's adopted ADU regulations. The City's current ADU regulations still apply in 2019.
If you wish to receive upcoming emails regarding the City's next step in aligning with the new State Law(s), you can create an account (or login to an existing account) at MyMV. Select General-Companion Unit Update.
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.
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.