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Oakland ADUs

Everything about building Accessory Dwelling Units in Oakland, CA

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Oakland ADU Guidelines Last Updated 09/16/21

The city government of Oakland has updated its local zoning codes to comply with the State ADU mandate.
The California Building Code (CBC) 2019 is adopted.


City Hint: The City of Oakland permitted a total of 623 ADU projects in the past year of 2020.

Number of ADUs allowed:

Under state law, each single-family home may now construct at least one ADU. Owner occupied single-family properties may construct one ADU and one Junior ADU. Multi-family properties, per every four existing residential units, may construct one ADU, so long as the existing units were legally established.

Types of ADUs allowed:

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

ADUs are established in Oakland as "Category 1" or "Category 2".
Category 1 is generally defined as a conversion of existing space, and includes no expansion of the existing building envelope other than up to 150 sq. ft. for ingress/egress.
Category 2 is generally defined as new construction detached/attached ADUs.

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 ADU projects. ~ AB-68

ADU size:

Category 1: The total floor area of the proposed Category 1 ADU does not exceed (a) 50% of the floor area of the existing primary Residential Facility or (b) 800 square feet, whichever is greater.
Category 2: For an attached (exterior addition) Category 2 ADU, the floor area does not exceed 50% of the floor area of the primary Residential Facility, or 850 sq. ft. for one‐bedroom and 1,000 sq. ft. for more than one‐bedroom, whichever is greater.
For a detached Category 2 ADU, the floor area does not exceed 1,200 square feet


Newly constructed detached Accessory Dwelling Units can be as close as 4 feet from the rear and side property lines. Setbacks will not be required for Accessory Dwelling Units and JADUs converted from existing space that was legally eastablished. Attached Accessory Dwelling Units and conversions from existing space to be expanded will be required to comply with the setbacks of the underlying zone. ~ Updated: State Law AB-68


No additional parking is required if the Category 1 ADU is located within the mapped “No Parking for ADUs Area”, or if the ADU is within:
(i) one‐half (½) mile of a public Transit Stop;
(ii) an Area of Primary Importance (API) or Area of Secondary Importance (ASI), as defined in the General Plan’s Historic Preservation Element;
(iii) an area where on‐street parking permits are required but not offered to the ADU occupant; or
(iv) one block of a dedicated carshare parking space
-If the provisions above regarding parking exemption are not met, the following parking is provided for the ADU: one parking space per unit in all zones. Tandem parking is permitted according to the regulations
-If required uncovered parking is removed to accommodate the Category 2 ADU, it must be replaced, and is subject to location and paving restrictions in the front yard. However, replacement of garage, carport, or covered structure parking is not required if it is converted or demolished in conjunction with the Category 2 ADU.
If required uncovered parking is removed to accommodate a Category 1 ADU, it is being replaced, and is consistent with location and paving restrictions in the front yard. (Replacement of garage, carport, or covered structure parking is not required if it is converted or demolished in conjunction with the Category 1 ADU.)

Fire Safety:

An ADU is only required to provide fire sprinklers if sprinklers are required for the Primary Unit. The fire flow and water pressure on the adjoining streets must meet minimum Fire Marshal requirements.

Shape, materials and style:

Category One: No architectural compatibility requirements are applicable.

Category Two: Must be clearly subordinate to the primary dwelling in size and location; exterior materials must match or be visually compatible.


Category One: No height restriction Category Two: For attached or detached ADUs outside required setbacks, height limits are consistent with standards for that zone. For detached ADUs within a required side or rear yard, maximum height is 16 feet

Design review:

Design review exemption, to be processed within 120 days of application receipt. The application will be considered, without discretionary review or a hearing. No public notice is required, and public input cannot be considered per State law.

Number of Bedrooms:

Not specified by 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) ~ SB13

Utility Connections

Category One: No new or separate utility connection shall be required.

Category Two: A new or separate utility connection may be required, but the connection fee or capacity charge shall be proportionate to the burden of ADU on the water or sewer system.


A "Secondary unit" (also known as “accessory dwelling unit,” “in-law unit”, or “granny flat”) is an attached or detached accessory dwelling unit that is located on the same lot as an existing One-Family Dwelling facility; provides complete independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation; and meets the standards and criteria of Section 17.103.080.

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. ***

Emergency Access

Category One: No restrictions apply.

Category Two: Not permitted within the S-9 Fire Safety Protection Combining Zone. Outside of the S-9 Zone, not permitted if accessed by a street with pavement less than 20 feet wide or by a dead-end street longer than 600 feet.


A Tree Preservation/Removal Permit is required for any proposed
construction activity within 10 feet of a Protected Tree, even if such trees are not being removed or if they are located on a neighbor’s
property or in the public right-of-way (e.g., sidewalk).

a. Any Coast Live Oak tree that is larger than 4 inches in diameter at breast height (dbh)
b. Any tree (except Eucalyptus or Monterey Pine) that is larger than 9 inches dbh*
c. Any tree of any size located in the public right-of-way (including street trees)

Residential Building Code:

The California Building Code (CBC) 2019 is adopted.

Oakland City Planning Offices

City of Oakland: Zoning and Planning Commission

250 Frank H Ogawa Plaza Suite 2114 Oakland, CA 94612 Oakland, CA 94612

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