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Accessory Dwelling Units

Effective January 1, 2017, state legislation (AB 2299 and SB 1069) amended Government Code Section 65852.2 regarding Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), superseding the sections of the City's regulations for “secondary dwelling units” (applicable in the residential single unit zones) and “accessory dwelling units” (applicable in the residential two unit zones) that were inconsistent with Government Code Section 65852.2. The state ADU laws were further refined through the adoption of AB 494 and SB 229 in October 2017. Until the City adopts its own ADU ordinance, it is required to ministerially approve ADUs if the unit complies with Government Code Section 65852.2. The provisions of the amended state law also apply in the Coastal Zone but a proposed ADU may require a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) depending on the project type. 

In compliance with state law and as directed by City Council in April 2017, the City is proposing to amend Title 30 of the Municipal Code, The Zoning Ordinance, to adopt local development regulations related to ADUs. The City’s Housing Element Policy H15 encourages ADUs as a means to provide additional rental housing in single family zones, and also recognizes that Santa Barbara has unique characteristics that warrant some additional local oversight of these units.


The California Department of Housing and Community Development released an Accessory Dwelling Unit Memorandum to provide guidance in implementing these new regulations.  

Please refer to the Accessory Dwelling Unit handout for submittal options.

Please refer to Government Code Section 65852.2 for more information about Accessory Dwelling Units legislation.

Please refer to Government Code Section 65852.22 for more information about Junior Accessory Dwelling Units legislation.

Upcoming Meetings

Introduction of Ordinance Amendments Related to the Regulation of Accessory Dwelling Units – City Council Hearing

Adoption of an ordinance requires a first reading (introduction) and a second reading (adoption), with at least five days between readings. With few exceptions, an ordinance takes effect 30 days after adoption. As stated in the City’s Charter Section 1507, no amendments to the City’s Zoning Ordinance shall be effective unless approved by five (5) affirmative votes.

Last Meeting

On Tuesday April 17, 2018, City Council held a hearing to introduce ordinance amendments to regulate Accessory Dwelling Units and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units. At the hearing, Council members passed several motions to further amend the ordinance to revise regulations for owner occupancy, development of ADUs and JADUs in High Fire Hazard Areas, minimum open yard area, and to add a requirement for on-site notices. Therefore, another City Council hearing will be necessary prior to adoption of the ordinance. The hearing date will be announced when confirmed.

Agendas and staff reports are posted on the Public Meetings webpage link on this page (right column, above).


Project Contact

This work effort is being conducted by the Planning Division of the Community Development Department in conjunction with Jerry Hittleman, Senior Planner from Rincon Consultants, Inc. For questions about the state law or the City’s amendment to the Zoning Ordinance establishing local regulations for ADUs, email ADU: or contact (805) 564-5470 x4461 and your call will be directed.

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



We have a newsletter! To receive updates and notices, click here to visit our MySB Quick Subscriptions page. Scroll down to the Newsletters & Bulletins section and select “Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU)”  and then enter your email and security text to be put on the mailing list.

Last Updated: Apr 19, 2018
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