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Accessory Dwelling Units

What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit?

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a self-contained unit that is usually smaller than the primary dwelling unit(s) on the same property. An ADU contains a kitchen, bathroom, and a place to sleep.

A Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit (JADU) is a unit up to 500 square feet in size contained within an existing or proposed home. JADUs must include a separate exterior entry and an efficiency kitchen. They can have a bathroom, or share a bathroom with the main house.

State and City Regulations

In 2017, the state legislature amended Government Code Section 65852.2 regarding Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and added Government Code Section 65852.22 to provide a unique option for Junior ADUs, which is a unit up to 500 square feet in size contained within an existing home. In 2018, City Council adopted Zoning Ordinance text amendments (Title 30 Section 30.185.040) for ADUs and Junior ADUs regulations aligning with state requirements.

In October 2019, Governor Newsom signed several new housing bills that significantly amended Government Code 65852.2 and 65952.22, effective January 1, 2020. This action voids the City’s ADU and JADU regulations. The City is currently reviewing the new laws and determining necessary amendments to Title 30 Section 30.185.040 Accessory Dwelling Units. The proposed amendments will be reviewed by the Planning Commission for a recommendation to City Council.

Interim Urgency Ordinance

Due to the significant changes in state ADU legislation and limited time to amend the City’s ADU Ordinance, on December 17, 2019, City Council adopted an Interim Urgency Ordinance No. 5927 (Interim Ordinance). The Interim Urgency Ordinance temporarily prohibits ADU/JADU development in the Foothill and Extreme Foothill Fire Hazard Zones (as defined in the City’s Wildland Fire Plan and shown on the map below) and on properties containing or immediately adjacent to identified historic resources if the ADU might substantially change the historic resource.

High Fire Hazard Area Map

 

Per state law, the Interim Ordinance is effective immediately for a period of 45 days from the date of adoption (i.e., until January 31, 2020), but this can be extended for 10 months and 15 days with a public hearing. On January 14, 2020, City Council adopted Ordinance 5930 to extend the Interim Ordinance for an additional 10 months and 15 days, or until December 17, 2020.

Any ADU/JADU application submitted after January 1, 2020 and not subject to the temporary prohibitions will be processed in accordance with California Government Code Section 65852.2 and 65852.22.

Resources

City Adopted Regulations and Information

State Law

For More Information

For questions about the state law or the City’s local regulations for ADUs, email staff at ADU@SantaBarbaraCA.gov

Subscribe using the STAY INFORMED box located on this page to receive notifications of upcoming public meetings.

For questions about zoning compliance and building permits for ADUs, please refer to the Accessory Dwelling Unit Submittal and Informational Packet above, stop by the permit counters at 630 Garden Street, or call the Planning/Zoning Counter at (805) 564-5578

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Last Updated: May 27, 2020
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