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Accessory Dwelling Units

The City of Redwood City is considering modifications to the Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance by creating design flexibility in the rules while respecting neighborhood character.  Please join us as we launch two brainstorming sessions in July.  Be a part of the solution!  This webpage will be updated throughout the process, so be sure to check back regularly.

Upcoming Events:

Tuesday July 1, 2014 7:00 PM
Planning Commission Study Session
Location: City Council Chambers
1017 Middlefield Rd, Redwood City, CA 94063
Planning Commission Staff Report
Attachment 1:  How ADUs Function Over Time
Attachment 2:  Current ADU Ordinance

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 7:00 PM
Community Outreach Workshop
Location: City Council Chambers
1017 Middlefield Rd, Redwood City, CA 94063

Para ver esta notificación en español, oprima aquí.

Why participate?
Help the City identify what works/what doesn’t work with our current rules about ADUs, and how we can create design flexibility in the City’s requirements while respecting neighborhood character. Following the two brainstorming sessions, staff will develop a new ADU ordinance based on the feedback provided and present the draft at a duly noticed public hearing.

Before you attend:
Be an ambassador to the City! We recommend that you talk to at least 5 people about the concept of ADUs (e.g. neighbors, clients, babysitters, colleagues, friends, waiters, coffee baristas, kids, college students, business owners, researchers, teachers). Get their thoughts and encourage their participation. Remember, ideas come from everywhere.


Join the conversation!
If you have a social media account such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, or Tumblr,  and would like to share your thoughts or ideas online, be sure to use the following hashtag:  #RWCcottage

If you are using Twitter, be sure to tag the City of Redwood City, followed by the hashtag, like this:  @RedwoodCity #RWCcottage

What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit?
An Accessory Dwelling Unit (aka secondary unit, in-law unit, granny flat, backyard cottage) is a smaller living unit on a property that has a single-family residence. It is complete with its own kitchen and bathroom facilities. Under the current ordinance, an ADU may be attached or detached from the main house, consist of no more than 1 bedroom and 640 square feet, and be located at least 20 feet from the rear and 6 feet from the side property lines. Plus, 1 uncovered parking space is required for the ADU and 2 covered parking spaces are required for the main house (all of which may be located as close to 20 feet from the front and 6 feet from the side property lines). If attached, an ADU may be 2-stories. If detached, an ADU is limited to 1-story.

Check out this great video:


General Resources on Accessory Dwelling Units:
Below are some resources to help you get started on your journey to learning more about Accessory Dwelling Units.  Please note that this is not intended to be an exhaustive list, and that there are thousands of resources that could be found online.


Cities That Have Recently Modified Rules Regarding Accessory Dwelling Units:

Examples of Amnesty Programs for Illegal Accessory Dwelling Units:


In the News:



Michelle Littlefield
Associate Planner
(650) 780-7238


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