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Laguna Beach ADUs

Everything about building Accessory Dwelling Units in Laguna Beach, CA

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400 sqft

749 sf
1 Bed

Laguna Beach ADU Guidelines Last Updated 09/30/21

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


City Hint: The City of Laguna Beach permitted a total of 16 ADU projects in the past year of 2020.

Number of ADUs allowed:

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

Types of ADUs allowed:

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

Lot size:

Residential properties will not be subject to any minimum lot size for Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)s by ordinance or of the underlying zoning district. ~ AB68

ADU size:

▪(1-bedroom) 850 square feet max.
▪(2+ bedroom) 1,000 square feet max.
▪Additional 150 square feet for ingress/egress purposes only
Whichever is less of the following:
▪50% of floor area of existing primary dwelling OR
▪850 square feet max. or 1,000 square feet max. for more than one-bedroom


Front Setback: Comply with applicable zoning standards
Sides and Rear:
▪ADUs up to 800 square feet: 4’ side and rear setbacks, including properties that do not have rear yards (e.g. through lots)
▪ADUs larger than 800 square feet: comply with development standards of the underlying zone. Separation between structures: 10’ minimum required between an ADU and any other building. This building separation may be reduced to 3’, provided that the structure is designed to the satisfaction of the Building Official (e.g. fire-protected openings, sprinklers, etc.).


▪1 space per ADU or bedroom, whichever is less.
▪Can be tandem on driveway or within setback area unless findings are made that it is not feasible based on specific site or regional topographical or fire and life safety conditions.

Parking Exempt ADUS:
▪Conversions of existing space
▪Located within ½ mile walking distance of public transit. “Public transit” means a location, including, but not limited to, a bus stop or train station, where the public may access buses, trains, subways, and other forms of transportation that charge set fares, run on fixed routes, and are available to the public. Laguna Beach transit is considered public transit.
▪Located within architecturally/historically significant historic district
▪When on-street parking permits are required but not offered to the occupant of the accessory dwelling unit
▪Located within one block of a car share vehicle

Fire Safety:

Accessory dwelling units shall not be required to provide fire sprinklers unless they are also required for the primary dwelling. ~ State Standards
Fire department review if:
▪Detached ADU
▪Conversions of detached structures to an ADU

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


▪ADUs up to 800 square feet: up to 16’ max. for ministerial review.
▪ADUs larger than 800 square feet: up to 12’ max. and any height in excess requires a Variance but
exempt from Design Review

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 Units. (applicable to new construction and conversion units) ~ According To 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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