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Accessory Dwelling Unit Regulations

State Law and ADU Ordinance Update

In 2017, the State legislature amended Government Code §65852.2 and added Government Code §65852.22 to ease development standards and facilitate the construction of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs).

In 2018, City Council amended the Inland Zoning Ordinance §30.185.040 to align ADU/JADU regulations with the new State requirements.

In 2019, Governor Newsom signed new housing bills that amended Government Code §65852.2 and §65852.22 to further encourage the construction of ADUs by limiting what a local jurisdiction, like Santa Barbara, can regulate. As a result, the Zoning Ordinance must again be amended to address the new State law.

Interim Urgency Ordinance

Due to the significant changes in State ADU law and limited timeframe for the City to amend its ADU Ordinance prior to the new laws becoming effective, the City Council adopted an Interim Urgency Ordinance 5927 (Interim Ordinance) on December 17, 2019 that was effective until January 31, 2020. On January 14, 2020, City Council adopted Ordinance 5930 to extend the Interim Ordinance until December 17, 2020 to allow the City enough time to adopt a new ADU Ordinance.

Temporary Prohibitions

The Interim Ordinance temporarily prohibits the construction of ADU/JADUs in the Foothill and Extreme Foothill Fire Hazard Zones (as defined in the City’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan and shown on the map below). The Interim Ordinance also temporarily prohibits an ADU on properties containing, or immediately adjacent to, identified historic resources if the ADU might substantially change the historic resource, as determined by the City’s Urban Historian. Any ADU/JADU application submitted after January 1, 2020 and not subject to the temporary High Fire Hazard Area prohibition will be processed in accordance with California Government Code §65852.2 and §65852.22.

High Fire Hazard Area Map


ADU Ordinance Update

To address the recent changes in State law, Staff is proposing to amend both the Inland Zoning Ordinance Title 30 subsection §30.185.040 Accessory Dwelling Units and the Coastal Zoning Ordinance Title 28, under a new section for ADUs to replace outdated standards for secondary dwelling units. Doing so will simplify the permitting process by making the review standards consistent throughout the entire City. However, projects located in the Coastal Zone will still require a Coastal Exemption/Exclusion or a Coastal Development Permit (CDP).

Project Timeline

Milestone Timeline
Planning Commission Review Summer 2020
Ordinance Committee Review Fall 2020
City Council Adoption Fall 2020
Inland Zoning Ordinance Amendments are Effective 30 Days After City Council Adoption
Submittal to California Coastal Commission for Certification Winter 2020
Coastal Zoning Ordinance Amendments are Effective To Be Determined


City Adopted Regulations and Information

State Law

For More Information

For questions about adoption of the City’s ordinance in compliance with updates to state law, email staff at

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, and the Public Counter Notices Page.

Latest News

The Planning Commission reviewed the Draft ADU Ordinance on August 6, 2020 and September 3, 2020. The next hearing is with the City Council Ordinance Committee on September 29, 2020. For more information, click here.

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Last Updated: Jul 21, 2020
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