|What is an ADU/JADU||Regulations for ADUs/JADUs||Apply for a Permit||Informational Materials|
CHANGES TO ADU REQUIREMENTS AND PERMITTING PROCESS!; AND NEW ADU ORDINANCE!
From 2018 through 2022, the state legislature has updated regulations for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs) annually, with the intended purpose of easing local zoning controls, reducing associated development fees, and streamlining the permit process. The updated legislation expressly limits a local agency’s ability to regulate ADUs and JADUs. Current state law can be found on the State of California’s Legislative Information website for the following:
- Current State law regarding Accessory Dwelling Units can be found on the State of California’s Legislative Information website here.
- Junior Accessory Dwelling Units – Gov. Code Section 65852.22, linked here.
More information about the recent state-wide changes to Accessory Dwelling Units, including the State’s ADU Handbook (most recently updated in July 2022), can be found on the California Department of Housing and Community Development’s (HCD) webpage.
On February 7, 2023, the County Board of Supervisors adopted amendments to Articles 2, 5, 7, 8, 11 and 19 of the Ventura County Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance (NCZO), which amended existing regulations for ADUs, and added regulations for JADUs, consistent with the above-mentioned state regulations. This Ordinance clearly identifies the available permitting pathways for ADUs and JADUs, as well as requirements for parcels in non-coastal areas. The adopted amendments to the Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance were effective on March 9, 2023.
Note: Planning Division staff will be updating ADU and JADU regulations consistent with state law requirements in the Coastal Zoning Ordinance soon. Until that time, all coastal ADU permit applications will be reviewed using both the County’s existing development standards pursuant to Coastal Zoning Ordinance Section 8175-5.1.1 (available here) and, where applicable, the State’s revised development standards to verify consistency with state law. Please check back this webpage for the anticipated timeframe regarding this project.
WHAT IS AN ADU AND JADU? (Top)Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) - Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) - An ADU is an attached or a detached residential dwelling unit, or a unit within the existing space of a primary dwelling unit, which provides complete independent living facilities for one or more persons and is located on a lot with a proposed or existing primary dwelling. It shall include permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation on the same lot as the proposed or existing single-family or multifamily dwelling. An accessory dwelling unit also includes the following: (a) An efficiency unit, as defined in section 17958.1 of the Health and Safety Code; and (b) A manufactured home, as defined in section 18007 of the Health and Safety Code.
ADUs may be developed in one of the four configurations:
Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit (JADU) - A dwelling unit that is no more than 500 square feet in size and contained entirely within an existing or proposed single-family dwelling. A JADU may include separate sanitation facilities, or may share sanitation facilities with the existing structure.
REGULATIONS FOR ADUS AND JADUS (Top)
* Note: Zoning designations and their abbreviations used below refer to the following zones. See the Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance for all other requirements regarding the zone:
A. ADUs and JADUs allowed with a Building Permit
The new state regulations allow for the development of an ADU or JADU to apply directly for a building permit for construction, if it meets the criteria listed below. Parcels in non-coastal areas should refer to NCZO Sections 8107-1.7.4 and 8107-1.7.6 for ADUs and JADUs allowed with a Building Permit
- ADUs Within Space of Single-Family Dwellings and Accessory Structures
- New Detached ADU with an Existing or Proposed Single-Family Dwelling
- ADUs in Existing Multifamily Dwelling Structures
- Detached ADUs on lots with Existing or Proposed Multifamily Dwelling
- Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs)
B. All other ADUs (allowed with a Zoning Clearance)
Proposed ADUs that do not meet the state criteria above are subject to review with a Zone Clearance, prior to application for a Building Permit. ADUs allowed with a Zone Clearance in non-coastal areas must comply with Section 8107-1.7.5, which is available here. The following summarizes the allowances in this section.
- Required for parcels that don’t meet Building Permit ADU requirements in Section 8107-1.7.4;
- Permitted on zones which allow residential dwellings (Zones allowed*: R1, R2, RES, RPD, R/MU, RHD, RA, RE, RO, CPD/CBD, OS, AE, or TP);
- Lots must have an existing or proposed single-family or multifamily dwelling;
- Each lot can build one ADU;
- Allows for larger ADUs of up to 1,800 square feet, based on criteria;
- Must meet setback, parking and height requirements in Section 8107-1.7.5;
- Includes a limited exception to development standards for ADUs (per state law); and
- Must meet Building Code, and Fire Code requirements and other applicable zoning standards
C. Maximum Allowed Height for All Detached ADUs
- Maximum of 16 feet above grade on a lot with an existing or proposed single-family or multifamily dwelling; or
- Maximum of 18 feet above grade on a lot with an existing or proposed multifamily dwelling with multiple stories; or
- Maximum of 18 feet above grade if the lot has an existing or proposed single-family or multifamily dwelling, and is within one half-mile walking distance of a major transit stop or a high-quality transit corridor, as defined in Section 21155 of the Public Resources Code. An additional two feet in overall height is allowed to accommodate a roof pitch that is aligned with the roof pitch of the primary dwelling unit.
- Detached ADUs may exceed the allowable height limits in (a) through (c) above if the ADU is set back at least 20 feet from all property lines, but the ADU shall not exceed the maximum allowed building height of the primary dwelling unit on the lot, pursuant to Article 6 of the NCZO.
APPLY FOR AN ADU/JADU PERMIT: (Top)
See the following links for applicable permit applications and supporting information.
- Ministerial Zone Clearance - For ADUs allowed with a Zone Clearance per NCZO Section 8107-1.7.5
- Deed Restrictions - Section 8107-1.7.7(f) requires property owner(s) to submit a deed restriction for an ADU or JADU, that must be recorded with the County Recorder at the property owner’s expense, prior to final approval. The approved ADU or JADU permit and plans and the legal description from property deed must be attached, all property owners must sign, and all property owners’ signatures must be notarized. See the sample deed restriction below for:
- Estimated Rental Amount for ADUs – In order to address Program HE-Z in the 2021-2029 Housing Element adopted by the Board of Supervisors and certified by HCD. Planning Division staff is required to collect information regarding the use and affordability of ADUs and report it to the state on an annual basis. Therefore, all property owners will be required to provide an estimated rental amount for the proposed ADU at the time of the permit. (Form - coming soon)
Informational Materials (Top)
Planning staff is currently in the process of preparing public information materials and updating permitting documents to reflect the new requirements, which will be posted on this page as well as other relevant Planning Division webpages.
1. ADU/JADU Homeowners Guidebook (coming soon)
Staff is in the process of creating a guidebook which will contain all permitting and development requirements for ADUs and JADUs listed above, which will assist the property owner or developer in navigating through the various options available for their parcel. The guidebook will also contain benefits of building an ADU, determining the permitting pathway for a certain option, Frequently Asked Questions, and other helpful resources. Please check back for updates.
2. Standardized Plans available for Detached ADUs
The County has prepared, and is making available to the public, a complete set of standardized plans that can be utilized for the construction of detached ADUs. These plans have already been reviewed and pre-approved by the Building and Safety Division. Utilizing these pre-approved plans will save time and money during the permitting process.
These standardized plans are free of charge, and they provide County residents with a cost-effective option to build an ADU on their property using this standardized design, in an affordable manner, without the cost or time typically needed for a new design. Generally, they reduce the need to hire an architect, if the plans are used exactly as approved. See more info regarding the three available layouts for one-, two- and three-bedroom units here.