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Encinitas ADUs

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Encinitas ADU Guidelines Last Updated 09/24/21

The city government of Encinitas will approve ADUs under California's statewide mandated regulations.
The California Building Code (CBC) 2019 is adopted.


City Hint: The City of Encinitas permitted a total of 200 ADU projects in the past year of 2020.

Number of ADUs allowed:

Single-family: Up to one ADU and one JADU per single-family dwelling
Multifamily: Up to two detached ADUs and at least one, or no more than 25% of the existing units in the multifamily building, conversion of existing non-habitable space

Types of ADUs allowed:

Detached ADU, Attached ADU, Junior ADU are approved. ADUs may be new construction or converted from existing space. JADUs must be converted from existing space.

Lot size:

Single family and multi-family residential parcels will not be subject to the minimum lot size of the underlying zoning district or by ordinance for Accessory Dwelling Unit projects. ~ Updated: State Law AB-68

ADU size:

Up to 800 square feet on any lot is allowed by-right and not subject to floor area ratio (FAR) and lot coverage requirements
Detached: Up to 1,200 square feet or the floor area of the primary unit, whichever is less
Attached: Up to 1,200 square feet or 50 percent of the floor area of the primary residence, whichever is less *Building separation of less than six feet is consider attached by zoning definition


Front: Same as the underlying zoning, plus state regulation when applicable. No additional setback for an existing garage converted to ADU
- Same as existing zoning or four feet, whichever is less
- No additional setback for an existing garage that is converted to an ADU
- A minimum setback of four feet shall be required for an ADU constructed above an existing garage


One parking space for newly constructed units unless the unit is:
- Within ½ mile of “public transit” (train station and all bus stops)
- Created within the area of an existing structure
- In a historic district

Fire Safety:

Accessory dwelling units shall not be required to provide fire sprinklers unless they are also required for the primary dwelling. ~ State Standards

Shape, materials and style:

Specific design styles and restrictions are not specified under State Standards. Passageways shall not be required in conjunction with the construction of an accessory dwelling unit. ~ State Standards


- 16-foot limit if applying reduced ADU setbacks
- If greater than 16 feet, the existing zoning setbacks apply

Design review:

The municipality shall provide a ministerial review process which is not based on a discretionary approval for an ADU. The process shall take no less than 120 days. Valid applications submitted for ADUs, if not approved or denied within 120 days from submission, shall be considered approved. ~ State Standards

Number of Bedrooms:

No maximum number of bedrooms is established other than that implied by the maximum size of an ADU allowed. ~ State Standards


Between between 2020 and 2025, owner occupancy requirements will not apply to new Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)s. (applicable to new construction and conversion units) ~ SB13

Utility connections:

Connection and utility fees shall be reasonable, and shall not be disproportionately higher than those to develop primary dwellings, so as not to deter the development of ADUs. If a private sewage disposal system is used, such as a septic system, review and approval by a local health officer may be required. ~ State Standards

Allowed Zones:

*** Beginning in 2020, according to state law, all residential zoning districts, including single-family and multi-family, are allowed to build Accessory Dwelling Units. ***

Residential Building Code:

The California Building Code (CBC) 2019 is adopted.

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