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Accessory Dwelling Units

Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance

In conjunction with recent California State requirements, the City has initiated various efforts to increase housing availability. One effort is to allow accessory dwelling units (ADUs) to be developed on single-family and multi-family properties. This page provides an explanation of the City's requirements for ADUs and junior accessory dwelling units (ADUs).

What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)?

ADU's are attached or detached residential dwelling units, which are secondary in nature to a primary dwelling. Also know as "mother-in-law suites" or "granny flats," ADUs provide complete independent living facilities for one or more persons. This includes permanent provisions for sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation.

What is a Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit (JADU)?

A JADU is a residential dwelling unit that is no more than 500 square feet in area, contained entirely within a proposed or existing single-family dwelling or attached garage, and can have bath/sanitation facilities that are either separate or shared with the existing single-family dwelling.

Where can I build an ADU?

ADUs may be permitted on properties in zoning districts where residential uses are allowed.

Check the property information search tool to see if your property is in a zoning district where residential uses are permitted. Please note that the following zoning districts permit residential uses: Single-Family Residence (R1); Two-Family Residence (R2), Multiple Family Residence (R3), Suburban Apartment (R4) and properties in other zoning districts including Specific Developments and/or Specific Plans where residential is permitted. For an additional reference, you can view the City's zoning map here: Zoning Map.

In addition to meeting zoning district use standards, ADUs need to be designed in compliance with development standards established in Section 41-194 of the Santa Ana Municipal Code. Visit the ADU/JADU Development Standards page for more information.

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