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City of Santa Cruz Changes Rules for Accessory Dwelling Units - March 6, 2019

At their February 26 meeting, the Santa Cruz City Council adopted amendments to the City’s Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) ordinance. The changes result from the Housing Voices Report of 2017, and specifically from recommendations made in the subsequent Housing Blueprint Subcommittee Report. Changes to state law regarding ADUs are also incorporated into the approved amendments.


Approved amendments:

  1. Eliminate parking requirements for ADUs;

  2. Eliminate the requirement for a Minimum Parcel Size (ADUs can now be added to any size lot);

  3. Allowing ADUs by right in all Residential Zones, when built with a single family home;

  4. Eliminate requirements for Use Permits/Design Permits for ADUs on substandard lots;

  5. Allow ADUs above garages to provide setbacks of 5 feet to side and rear lot lines (previously required minimum of 10 feet from the rear);

  6. Allow full reconstruction of existing structures(previously limited to 50% of the structure) to qualify for the fee exemptions allowed under state law for Conversion ADUs;

  7. Allow expansions of Conversion ADUs of up to 120 square feet of floor area and 2 feet of height to qualify for the fee exemptions allowed under state law;

  8. Allow interior connections between an attached ADUs and the Primary Home on the parcel; and

  9. Change the definition of Owner-Occupant to include immediate family members (limited to Spouses, Siblings, Parents, and Adult Children), so a property owner can have a family member living on the property manage the property and any tenants.


      For More Information on the City of Santa Cruz ADU Policies, please click here

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