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Accessory Dwelling Units

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Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) provide complete independent living facilities for sleeping, eating, and sanitation. ADUs are either attached to, or located within, the proposed or existing primary dwelling, including attached garages, storage areas, or similar uses or an accessory structure or detached from the proposed or existing primary dwelling and located on the same lot as the proposed or exiting primary single-family or multi-family dwelling. 

The following information is to provide guidance to applicants interested in creating new ADUs on their properties.  Applicants should check with their design professionals or City planning staff for ADU questions at planning@san-clemente.org or (949) 361-6197.

Types of ADUs

There are three types of ADUs allowed on residential lots in residential, multi-family, and mixed used zones. The three types are described and shown below.

  1. Attached ADU. The ADU is attached to the primary dwelling as an addition to the building. The ADU may be new construction or a conversation of existing space.

  2. Detached ADU. The ADU is within an accessory building detached from the primary dwelling. The accessory building may be new construction or a conversion of an existing accessory structure.

  3. Junior ADU. A unit that is no more than 500 square feet in size and contained entirely within a single-family residence.

Development Standards

ADUs must meet requirements compliant with State laws AB-68, “Junior ADUs”, and AB-881, “ADUs”, that went into effect on January 1, 2020. Until a City ordinance is adopted and in effect, State ADU development standards are used to review ADUs according to State Law. For more information on State standards, visit the links below. 

  • City ADU Packet. The packet contains a summary of State ADU standards.

  • State ADU Website. The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) website with guides, details on State Law, and other resources.  

Review Process

ADUs require a building permit and a deed restriction. To apply for a building permit, the property owner must complete an ADU Checklist for Planning Division review at the public counter. A planner will review the checklist to confirm required ADU information is provided and the form is initialed by the property owner. Prior to the issuance of a building permit, a deed restriction must be recorded to the property’s title in the County Recorder's office and a copy must be filed with the City Planner. Below is a link to the City's ADU packet that includes an overview of fees and other resources. For details on building permit fees, please contact Nancy Vrooman, Senior Permit Technician, at vroomann@san-clemente.org

  • ADU Packet  (includes overview of fees, development standards, and a template deed restriction)