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Sacramento ADUs

Everything about building Accessory Dwelling Units in Sacramento, CA

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Sacramento ADU Guidelines Last Updated 04/05/20

PLANNING OFFICE The city planning office is not open to the public at this time, but is accepting ADU permit questions and applications.

The city government of Sacramento 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.


City Hint: The city permitted a total of 32 ADU project(s) in the past year of 2018, which is below the average compared to other cities in California.

Number of ADUs allowed:

Under state law, each single-family home may now build at least one Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU). Owner occupied single-family lots may build one Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) and one Junior ADU. Multi-family lots, per every four existing residential units, may build one Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), so long as the existing units were legally established.

As of January 1st, 2020

Types of ADUs allowed:

Detached ADU, Attached ADU, Junior ADU are permitted. 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 (ADU) projects. ~ Updated: State Law AB-68

As of January 1st, 2020

ADU size:

Single-family and multi-family Properties will be approved to build up to 850 square feet for a one bedroom ADU or up to 1,000 square feet for a two bedroom ADU, regardless of the underlying zoning standards of the property. A Junior Accessort Dwelling Unit (JADU) up to 500 square feet is approved. The minimum size of any living unit (including ADUs and Junior Accessort Dwelling Unit (JADU)s) is 150 square feet according to Califronia Residential Code. ~ AB-68

As of January 1st, 2020


The maximum required setback for a detached new construction Accessory Dwelling Unit shall be no more than 4 feet from the rear and side property lines. Setbacks will not be required for Accessory Dwelling Units and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units 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. ~ AB68

As of January 1st, 2020


Replacement parking shall not apply to properties which convert an existing garage to an ADU or Junior Accessort Dwelling Unit (JADU). ~ AB68 & AB881 Update

As of January 1st, 2020

Fire Safety:

Fire sprinklers are required if fire sprinklers are existing or would be required for the primary home.

Shape, materials and style:

The ADU unit shall be designed to be architecturally compatible with the primary single-unit dwelling and the surrounding neighborhood in terms of scale; massing; and color, material, and texture of all exterior materials, including the roof, siding, window types, detailing, and trim.

New ADU units should use universal access design features, including “no step” entrances, where topography and site constraints allow.
No portion of a ADU unit balcony, deck, or open-stair landing that faces the rear lot line or the side lot line nearest to the ADU unit shall be higher than three feet from the ground. For ADU units that do not meet the zoning designation’s setback requirements for the primary dwelling unit, no portion of any window that faces the lot line where the setback requirement for the primary dwelling unit is not met may extend above 10 feet from the ground.


The maximum height is of an ADU shall be that of the underlying zone. The Zoning Administrator may approve a residential accessory dwelling which exceeds these standards provided the proposed height will not adversely affect adjoining residentially zoned property, and further provided that the residential accessory dwelling does not exceed the allowable height of the primary residential structure on the lot.

Design review:

The design of the ADU unit shall conform to the design guidelines applicable to the lot on which the ADU unit is located. If the design of the primary single-unit dwelling or surrounding neighborhood conflict with the applicable design guidelines, the design guidelines control.

Number of Bedrooms:

Not specified by State Standards.


Owner-occupancy will not be required for new Accessory Dwelling Units (conversion and new construction) built between 2020 and 2025. ~ SB-13

As of January 1st, 2020

Utility connections:

Public sewer and water facilities shall be provided in the RD zones.

Historic Requirements

A secondary dwelling unit located within a historic district or accessory to a landmark is subject to site plan and design review.


No passageway shall be required in conjunction with the construction of a secondary dwelling unit.

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. ***

As of January 1st, 2020

Lot Coverage

A secondary dwelling unit shall not be included in the calculation of the density of the lot on which the secondary dwelling unit is located.

Existing Structures

Conversion of existing structures: The requirements in subsections A through D, above, do not apply to a secondary dwelling unit that (1) is entirely contained within an existing single-unit dwelling or existing legally-constructed accessory structure, (2) is not located within a historic district or, if located within a historic district, does not involve modifications to the exterior of the existing structure, (3) does not involve a landmark or, if involving a landmark, does not involve modifications to the exterior of the landmark, (4) has exterior access independent from the existing primary dwelling unit, and (5) the side and rear setbacks are sufficient for fire safety.

SB13 Update: Amnesty program to permit unpermitted units will be administered statewide, allowing non-health and safety code violations to be deferred.


Deviations from development and design standards.

A request to deviate from the development standards contained in subsection C and the design guidelines contained in subsection D may be made by application for site plan and design review under chapter 17.808. (Ord. 2017-0008 § 7; Ord. 2013-0020 § 1; Ord. 2013-0007 § 1)

Residential Building Code:

The California Building Code (CBC) 2019 is adopted.

Sacramento City Planning Offices

City of Sacramento Community Development Department

300 Richards Boulevard, 3rd Floor Sacramento, CA 95811 Sacramento, CA 95811

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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: $2.06) * (ADU's Living Space: sqft)

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