Accessory Dwelling Ordinance

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What is an ADU? | Benefits of an ADU | Previous Meetings | Contact

The City Adopts New Law on ADUs Effective May 24, 2017

In response to a new State Law, the City Council amended the Accessory Dwelling Unit ordinance and made consistency changes to other sections of the code (Public Hearing of March 27, 2017). The new state law restricts what cities may require of new ADUs with the intent of further reducing barriers, streamlining approval, and expanding capacity to accommodate the development of ADUs.

The Cities new ordinance:

  • Removes requirement for one additional parking space with ADUs
  • Allows conversion of the garage into an ADU with replacement parking spaces on the driveway
  • Increases base maximum size from 640 sq. ft. to 700 sq. ft. and eliminates the limitation on number of bedrooms
  • Permits conversion of accessory structures into an ADU with setbacks required for fire safety
  • Allows one of the two required parking spaces for a single-family home to be uncovered and on the driveway
  • Eliminates the two-water fixture limitation for accessory buildings.
  • Other requirements -  see new Ordinance 




What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit?

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a smaller living unit on a property that has a single-family residence. It is complete with its own kitchen and bathroom facilities.  Common names for an ADU include in-law unit, secondary unit, and backyard cottage.

Benefits of an ADU

  • Extra living space for family or guests
  • Housing for aging parents, caregivers or adult children
  • Efficient use of existing infrastructure
  • Rental income

Previous 2015 Changes to ADU Regulations

On December 7, 2015, the City Council adopted Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Ordinance.  Those rules became effective on January 7, 2016.

New ADU Requirements & Resources

Pre-Application Consultations

City staff is now accepting pre-application consultations to help homeowners navigate the new design requirements.

  • Counter Hours:  8AM-5PM (M/F), 8AM-12:30PM (W) and 12:30PM-5PM (T/Th) (walk-ins welcome)
  • Planning Services:  (650) 780-7234 (ask to speak with the Planner-on-Duty)
  • Email:

Previous Meetings

February 21, 2017

December 7, 2015

October 26, 2015

October 6, 2015

September 2, 2014

July 9, 2014

July 1, 2014



Diana O'Dell

Principal Planner

(650) 780-7236

PC Notice 10.06.15