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Accessory and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU/JADU)

  ADUs can now be processed through Rapid Review. Detached one-story units, additions and conversions of garages or accessory structures all qualify. View PDF icon the latest updates to ADU/JADU regulations. 

ADUs, also referred to as companion units, are detached or attached accessory structures on a residential lot that:

  1. Provide living facilities for one or more persons;
  2. Are independent of the primary dwelling unit; and
  3. Include permanent provisions for living, sleeping and cooking.

A JADU is an accessory structure that is contained entirely within an existing, habitable single dwelling unit.

Both ADUs and JADUs can be integrated into existing single-family or multi-family properties and can be designed in a variety of ways, including converting a portion of an existing house, adding to the existing house, converting an existing garage or constructing a new detached structure. These are intended as housing, and shall not be used for a rental term of less than 30 consecutive days. Learn more about PDF icon ADUs and JADUs



ADUs and JADUs are an integral part of the City's Housing SD initiatives that will help increase housing affordability and supply citywide. The City has amended regulations that make it easier and less expensive to build ADUs and JADUs, helping to provide affordable and below-market housing throughout the City. These amendments include:

  • Requiring that rental periods for ADUs or JADUs be greater than 30 days
  • Expediting permit processing, plan review and construction inspection times, and processing new ADU permits over-the-counter for detached one-story units, additions, conversions of garages or accessory structures.  With over-the-counter permitting, applicants may receive all approvals necessary for construction on the same day, rather than having to wait as long as two weeks to get plan corrections back.
  • Allowing the use of permit-ready, no-cost building plans from the County of San Diego and the City of Encinitas Permit-Ready Accessory Dwelling Unit (PRADU) program. The plans still must meet the City of San Diego submittal guidelines for a building permit.

  • Increasing zoning flexibility.
  • Waiving Development Impact Fees, Facility Benefit Assessment Fees and General Plan Maintenance Fees.  
  • Increasing the maximum size of a project from 700 square feet to 1,200 square feet. 
  • Maintaining the existing setbacks for a permitted garage or a non-habitable accessory structure that is converted to an ADU. 
  • Exempting qualified projects from requirements to create new parking spaces.  

Here is a summary of the ADU applications received, construction permits issued and the number of ADUs completed by year. 

Year Applications
2020 166* 150* 151*
2019 636 456 201
2018 350 237 61
2017 110 19 13
2016 16 14 9

*The data provided is current as of June 26, 2020.

Municipal Code

Submittal Requirements

Fee Schedule


Publications and Resources

* The handbook has not been updated to reflect new state law that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
**Contact each jurisdiction for the latest version of their plans.  

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