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Fremont ADUs

Everything about building Accessory Dwelling Units in Fremont, CA

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PLANNING OFFICE The city has closed all operations during the COVID-19 outbreak. More information will be posted here once it becomes available. In the meantime, we are providing services for Fremont properties based on recent projects and research.

The city government of Fremont has updated its local zoning codes to comply with the State ADU mandate.
The California Building Code (CBC) 2019 is adopted.
Relevant state bill updates for SB13, AB68, AB881, AB670 are shown in green below.

Last Updated 04/05/20


City Hint: The city permitted a total of 34 ADU project(s) in the past year of 2018, which is below the average compared to other cities in California.

Number of ADUs allowed:

According to state law, all single-family homes are allowed at least one ADU. Additionally, single-family parcels which are owner-occupied may create one ADU and one JADU. Also, multi-family parcels may now add one ADU per every four existing residential units, so long as they were legally established.

As of January 1st, 2020

Types of ADUs allowed:

Detached ADU, Attached ADU, Junior ADU are allowed. Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)s may be new construction or converted from existing space. Junior Accessory Dwelling Units must be converted from existing space.

Lot size:

Accessory Dwelling Unit projects on single family or multi-family residential parcels will not be subject to the minimum lot size of the underlying local zoning code or by special ordinance. ~ AB-68

As of January 1st, 2020

ADU size:

Single-family and multi-family Parcels will be allowed to create up to 850 square ft. for a one bed ADU or up to 1,000 square ft. for a two bed ADU, regardless of the underlying zoning standards of the property. A JADU up to 500 square ft. is allowed. The minimum size of any living unit (including ADUs and JADUs) is 150 square ft. according to Califronia Residential Code. ~ AB68 & AB881 Update

As of January 1st, 2020


The maximum required setback for a detached new construction ADU shall be no more than 4 ft. from the rear and side property lines. Setbacks will not be required for ADUs and JADUs converted from existing space that was legally eastablished. Attached ADUs and conversions from existing space to be expanded will be required to comply with the setbacks of the underlying zone. ~ AB68 & AB881 Update

As of January 1st, 2020


Properties which convert an existing garage to an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) or JADU will not be subject to replacement parking requirements. ~ According To AB68

As of January 1st, 2020

Fire Safety:

If a detached structure, the ADU must be separated from other habitable structures on the lot by at least 10 feet. This may be reduced to eight feet if one structure is equipped with fire sprinklers or six feet if both structures are equipped with fire sprinklers. Other exceptions may apply.

Shape, materials and style:

ADUs shall incorporate architectural features, building materials and colors that are compatible with the principal residence.
1. Outside stairways to the ADU shall not be in the front of the principal residence.
2. A continuous paved pathway from the street to the front door of the ADU (called a “passageway”) may be added, but is not required.


ADUs may not exceed the building height limits applicable to the principal residence.

Design review:

An application for an ADU that meets the applicable standards in the Fremont Municipal Code (FMC) is subject only to ministerial review and approval. This means that the application may be approved by staff and no public hearing is required. Where design review requirements are applicable (for example, for an addition or a new detached structure), a Ministerial design review Permit is required.

Number of Bedrooms:

Not specified by 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) ~ SB-13

As of January 1st, 2020

Utility connections:

Permits from the Alameda County Water District (ACWD) and Union Sanitary District (USD) may also be required. A fee is required for the building permit and may be required for other permits.

Permit Fees

SB13 Update: As of January 1st, 2020, local impact fees for ADUs will be reduced substantially statewide.


Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs—also known as “secondary dwelling units” or in-law apartments) are attached or detached residential dwelling units that are subordinate to a principal residence on the same lot and that provide complete independent living facilities for one or more persons. ADUs include permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation.

Historic Requirements:

On lots that have been deemed eligible or formally listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the California Register of Historical Resources, or any adopted local list of historic resources, architectural approval must be granted by the Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB).


ADUs do not count toward the density requirements in the General Plan or zoning regulations.

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. ***

ADUs are not permitted in duplexes, triplexes, and other buildings with more than one principal residence.

As of January 1st, 2020


Note: ADUs are not allowed on “constrained” land, where development capacity is limited because of conditions determined to be detrimental to public health, safety and welfare, such as soil instability or severe slopes. In such areas, ADUs may be located only within the area of the lot allowed for the principal residence.

Residential Building Code:

The California Building Code (CBC) 2019 is adopted.

Fremont City Planning Offices

Community Development Department

39550 Liberty St. Fremont, CA 94538 Fremont, CA 94538

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ADU Example Designs

ADU Model 500 sqft

W 25 ft L 20 ft

ADU Model 1120 sqft

W 35 ft L 32 ft

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Karyn Jones

Program Representative

Call Now (760) 496-5959

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Customer since January, 2020

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Costs / ROI



* upon completion of ADU


* based on local average price per sqft


* estimated by location


* 30 years / 5% interest rate / 20% down payment


Size: 500 sqft


Appreciation Estimate = (Base Value: $) / (Home's Living Space: sqft) * (ADU's Living Space: sqft)

Rental Estimate = (Rent Per Sqft: $3.96) * (ADU's Living Space: sqft)

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