Step 1

Step 1: Is An ADU Allowed On My Property?

The first step in planning your ADU is to determine if your property is eligible for an ADU. 

Action Items:

  • Look up the zoning information on your lot

  • Determine if ADUs are allowed on your property

INSTANTLY FIND OUT IF AN ADU IS ALLOWED ON YOUR PROPERTY

Symbium Build is a free tool that can instantly determine if an ADU is allowed on your property, explore different locations and designs for your ADU, and learn how much it could roughly cost.

 

ZONING & ADUs

For zoning purposes, ADUs are subject to either:

Property owners must choose one set of standards for the ADU(s) on their lot. There are benefits to both options and property owners will need to consider both carefully to decide which best meets their needs. 

 

Local 

ADU Ordinance 

17.228.105(A)-(F)

State ADU Standards:

17.228.105 (G)

Government Code Section 65852.2(e)

PRIMARY

DWELLING

 

 

 

Single-Unit or Multi-Unit Dwelling

 

Single-Unit Dwelling

 

Multi-Unit Dwelling

 

NUMBER

ALLOWED

 

 

2 ADUs*

Any combination of:

Attached, Detached, or JADU (SFR only)

 

 

3 ADUs*

Can only be:

1 Attached conversion, 1 JADU, and 1 Detached

 

 

At least 3 ADUs*

Can only be:

2 Detached, and 1, or up to 25% of existing units attached conversion.

 

 

MAX

HEIGHT

 

 

Determined by the zoning. Ex: R-1 zone: 35 ft

 

16 ft or 18 ft within 1/2 mile of transit

 

16 ft or 18 ft within 1/2 mile of transit, or primary dwelling is multi-story

 

MAX

AREA

 

 

Attached: 50% of existing primary dwelling, or 850 sf for a studio/1 bedroom, or 1000 sf for a 2 bedroom, whichever is greater.

Detached: 1200 sf JADU: 500 sf 

 

 

Attached Conversion: Expansion of not more than 150 sf.

Detached: 800 sf JADU: 500 sf

 

 

Attached Conversion: Must comply with state building standards for dwellings. 

 

Short-Term-Rental

 

Subject to 17.228.104

 

Prohibited

 

Prohibited

 

*Properties located within the EA-2 or EA-3 Overlay Zone may only have one ADU per lot (17.312.060). 

What is zoning?

Zoning is how cities regulate the physical development of land and use of property. All properties have a zoning designation that determines the allowed uses, as well as the physical standards for development, such as height and setbacks. 

How many ADUs can I build on my property?

The number and type of ADU(s) allowed on a property depends on the type of primary dwelling unit, and whether the property owner has selected the City of Sacramento’s Local ADU Ordinance or State ADU Standards.

WHAT ARE THE CITY OF SACRAMENTO'S LOCAL ADU ORDINANCE ZONING REQUIREMENTS?

Below are general depictions of the City's Local ADU Ordinance zoning requirements for attached and detached ADUs. Please visit Sacramento City Code Section 17.228.105(A)-(F) for a full list of zoning requirements.

 

Local ADU Ordinance: Detached ADU Zoning Requirements

A. Size (Floor Area): Maximum of 1,200 square feet in combined total.

B. Setbacks: All ADU’s must comply with the minimum front yard setback of the property’s zone1. 3-foot minimum interior side and rear yard setbacks are required if the entire ADU is less than 60 feet from the front property line. No interior side or rear yard setbacks are required for the first floor of a multistory ADU if the entire ADU is at least 60 feet from the front property line. 3-foot minimum interior side and rear yard setbacks are required for the second floor and above of a multistory ADU.

C. Separation: Detached ADUs must be at least 4 feet from each other or the primary residence.

D. Height: The height requirement applicable to the lot on which the ADU is located applies to the ADU. For example, if the lot is in the R-1 zone, the maximum height of the R-1 zone, 35ft, would apply to the ADU.

1The applicability of Government Code § 65852.2(c)(1)(C) will be determined on an individual project basis. 

 

Local ADU Ordinance: Attached ADU Zoning Requirements

A. Size (Floor Area): 50% of primary residence or 850 square feet or 1,000 square feet with 2+ bedrooms, whichever is greater.

B. Setbacks: All ADU’s must comply with the minimum front yard setback of the property’s zone1. 3-foot minimum interior side and rear yard setbacks are required if the entire ADU is less than 60 feet from the front property line. No interior side or rear yard setbacks are required for the first floor of a multistory ADU if the entire ADU is at least 60 feet from the front property line. 3-foot minimum interior side and rear yard setbacks are required for the second floor and above of a multistory ADU.

C. Height: The height requirement applicable to the lot on which the ADU is located applies to the ADU. For example, if the lot is in the R-1 zone, the maximum height of the R-1 zone, 35 ft, would apply to the ADU.

1The applicability of Government Code § 65852.2(c)(1)(C) will be determined on an individual project basis.  

Local ADU Ordinance: Detached and Attached ADU Zoning Requirements

A. Size (Floor Area) - Detached ADU: Maximum of 1,200 square feet in combined total.

B. Size (Floor Area) - Attached ADU: 50% of the existing primary residence or 850 square feet or 1,000 square feet with 2+ bedrooms, whichever is greater.

C. Setbacks: All ADU’s must comply with the minimum front yard setback of the property’s zone1. 3-foot minimum interior side and rear yard setbacks are required if the entire ADU is less than 60 feet from the front property line. No interior side or rear yard setbacks are required for the first floor of a multistory ADU if the entire ADU is at least 60 feet from the front property line. 3-foot minimum interior side and rear yard setbacks are required for the second floor and above of a multistory ADU.

D. Height: The height requirement applicable to the lot on which the ADU is located applies to the ADU. For example, if the lot is in the R-1 zone, the maximum height of the R-1 zone, 35 ft, would apply to the ADU.

1The applicability of Government Code § 65852.2(c)(1)(C) will be determined on an individual project basis.  

 

WHAT ARE STATE ADU STANDARDS?

Below are general depictions of the State ADU Standards for ADUs. Please visit Sacramento City Code Section 12.228.105(G) and Government Code § 65852.2(e) for a full list of zoning requirements.

State ADU Standards: Properties with Single-Unit Dwellings

Attached ADU Converted from Existing Space

A. Location. The ADU must be located within the space of the single-unit dwelling or accessory structure with exterior access from the single-unit dwelling.

B. Setbacks. Side and rear yard setbacks will be determined through the building permit review process but are not more than 4 feet.

Junior ADU

A. Size (Floor Area): Not more than 500 square feet located within the walls of the single-unit dwelling or attached garage.

B. Setbacks. Side and rear yard setbacks will be determined through the building permit review process but are not more than 4 feet.

C. Deed Restriction: A deed restriction is required prior to final building permit inspection.

Detached, New Construction ADU

A. Size (Floor Area): Not more than 800 square feet.

B. Setbacks: 4-foot minimum side and rear yard setbacks are required

C. Height: 16 feet or 18 feet if located with ½ mile walking distance of a major transit stop, or a high-quality transit corridor, as defined in Public Resources Code Section 21155. An additional 2 feet in height is allowed for ADUs to accommodate a roof pitch aligned with the primary dwelling.

 

State ADU Standards: Properties with Multi-Unit Dwellings

Conversions of Portions of Existing Structures Not Used as Livable Space

A. At least one ADU is allowed to be converted within the portions of existing multifamily dwelling structures that are not used as livable space, including, but not limited to, storage rooms, boiler rooms, passageways, attics, basements, or garages, if each unit complies with state building standards for dwellings.

Detached, New Construction ADUs

A. Setbacks: 4-foot minimum side and rear yard setbacks are required

B. Height: 16 feet or 18 feet if:

a. Located with ½ mile walking distance of a major transit stop, or a high-quality transit corridor, as defined in Public Resources Code Section 21155. An additional 2 feet in height is allowed for ADUs to accommodate a roof pitch aligned with the primary dwelling or

b.  Located on a lot with an existing or proposed mutli-unit, multi-story dwelling.

What are historic districts?

There are 30 historic districts within the City, most of which are located in the urban core. ADUs are allowed within historic districts and must comply with the City's Historic District Plans and Design Guidelines and the Secretary of the Interior's Standards. ADUs on landmark properties will need to be reviewed by the Preservation Director. Find out if your property is a historic landmark or within a historic district on our Land Information Lookup App.

 

STEP 2: DETERMINE PROJECT GOALS AND YOUR DEVELOPMENT TEAM

It's important to understand what goals you have for your ADU and if you want to hire an architect or contractor to help through the process.