Step by step

Apply to build an accessory dwelling unit (ADUs)

Follow these steps to apply online and complete the other required processes to build your ADU.

If your project is only for an ADU, follow this process to start your application online. 

Do not use this page for unit legalization or new construction of more than an ADU. If your project includes demolition, you will also need to follow the in-house review process with the Department of Building Inspection

1

Prepare for an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) project

Adding an ADU is a complex project. 

Follow these steps to prepare for an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) project. 

If you do not follow our instructions carefully, it will take us longer to review and approve your application.

Prepare for an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) project

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2

Start your ADU application

Cost:

Free

Time:

1 hour

If your project is only for an ADU and work related to ADU construction, start your application online.

You must upload your plans with your application.

After you apply, we will send you a confirmation email with your application information.

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and

Apply for your street tree permit

Cost:

Free to apply for your street tree permit. If you choose to pay the in-lieu fee, it will cost $2,193 per tree.

If you have not applied for your street tree permit yet, apply now.

Upload this checklist with your tree planting application. You must fill this out even if you will not plant new trees.

Start your tree planting permit application with Public Works

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and

Register to track your construction waste

Time:

30 minutes

You must track your construction waste if your project is for:

  • New construction
  • Additions greater than 1,000 square feet
  • Remodels or alterations that cost $200,000 or more
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3

Staff ADU application intake

Time:

2 weeks

We will review your application and email you within 2 weeks.

You may need to update your plans to address plan check comments.

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4

Pay fees

Cost:

6 to 9% of building costs

After we review all your documents, we will email you an invoice with your filing fee.

You must pay your filing fee online for your permit application to be processed. Then we will route your application to plan check.

Your filing fee will depend on whether you are doing a full or site permit and whether you’re applying for new construction or an alteration. Permit fees are between 6-9% of construction costs.

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5

Respond to plan checker comments

We will invite you to a Bluebeam session to review our comments. Bluebeam is our plan review software.

You may need to make changes to your plans and resubmit them. 

Learn how we use Bluebeam

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6

Apply for your Street Improvement permit

If you are changing curb cuts, apply for your Street Improvement Permit after you receive your building permit application number.

Apply for your Street Improvement permit.

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7

Complete legal notices

Cost:

$100+ (depending on number of parcels and sheets)

You will need to complete a Notice of Special Restrictions (NSR).

You may also need to complete a Costa Hawkins agreement.

These documents must be recorded before we can issue your permit.

 

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8

Permit approval and final fee payment

Cost:

Remaining fees

Time:

2 weeks

Your permit application will go through a comprehensive review process.

All City departments have to approve your permit before we can issue your permit.

After we have reviewed your application, we will tell you:

  • What your final fee is
  • How to pay your final fee
  • What next steps to take (if any)
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9

Start construction

If you have a full permit, you can start construction once you receive your construction document.

If you submitted a site permit, you will need to submit your addendum. We will email you instructions to submit your addendum online. You can start construction once your addendum is issued.

Full and site applicants may need additional permits.

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Last updated May 19, 2022