Accessory Dwelling Ordinance


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

State Passes New Law on ADUs

The State passed new laws, effective January 1, 2017, to further reduce barriers, streamline approval, and expand capacity to accommodate the development of ADUs. These changes include further restrictions on the amount of parking that may be required, allowance for conversion of existing accessory structures into ADUs, and limitations on fire sprinkler and water meter requirements, among other changes. See the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) Memo summarizing the law. 

The City will be amending its ADU Ordinance to comply with the State mandates, and ensure consistency of provisions throughout the Zoning Code. 

Planning Commission is scheduled to review these changes at a public hearing on:

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

Council Chambers, City Hall

1017 Middlefield Road, Redwood City 

A complete list of amendments is available here

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

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/W/F), 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

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