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Oakland, California: ADU Regulations

Date Updated:

07.02.2019

Number of ADUs allowed:

No more than one Category One or Category Two ADU.
Max one Detached, which can be combined with JADU. Cannot be combined with a Conversion.

Types of ADUs allowed:

Category One – Exist entirely within an existing one-family dwelling or existing detached accessory structure (considered as Conversion or Junior ADUs in other municipalities)

Category Two – All other ADUs including units (a) not entirely within the building envelope of an existing structure that was in legal existence prior to January 1, 2017; and (b) involve either construction of a new structure, or an exterior addition to an existing structure

Junior ADUs are considered their own category.

Lot size:

No min/max provided the ADU can maintain necessary setbacks.

ADU size:

Category One: Min 150 sq.ft., cannot exceed 50% of primary residence)

Category Two, Attached: Min 150 sq.ft.; Max is lesser of 50% of primary residence and 850 sq.ft. (1 bedroom) / 1,000 sq.ft. (more than 1 bedroom). 800 sq.ft. that meets setback and height requirements must be allowed.

Category Two, Detached: Min 150 sq.ft.; Max 850 sq.ft. (1 bedroom) / 1,000 sq.ft. (more than 1 bedroom). 800 sq.ft. that meets setback and height requirements must be allowed.

Junior: 500 sq.ft.


Lot Coverage:

ADU must comply with underlying zoning district regulations

Bedroom:

N/A

Storage:

N/A

Kitchen:

Must provide complete independent living facilities including permanent provisions for cooking and eating. Unit shall be provided with an approved cabinet adjacent to the kitchen sink for storing food, crockery, cutlery, and cooking utensils

Bath:

1 min, must include toilet, lavatory and bathtub or shower receptor. Junior can share with primary residence.

Parking:

Category One ADUs do not require any additional parking spaces.

Category Two ADUs must comply with prescribed applicable individual zone regulations, unless ADU (a) is located within one-half mile of a public transit stop, (b) is located in an API or ASI as defined in the Historic Preservation Element of the General Plan, (c) is located in an area where on-street parking permits are required but not offered to the occupant of an ADU, or (d) is within one block of a dedicated car share parking space. Parking may be provided in tandem.

In CBD, S-2, D-LM zones, except when combined with the S-11 or S-12 Zone, no additional parking is required. In any other zone, except when combined with the S-11 or S-12 Zone, one parking space is required unless otherwise specified above. In any zone combined with the S-11 Zone, one space per bedroom in the ADU up to a maximum of two spaces is required unless otherwise specified above. In any zone combined with the S-12 Zone, one parking space per bedroom in the ADU is required unless otherwise specified above.

Setbacks:

Category One ADUs do not require any changes to setbacks.
Category Two ADUs must be no closer than 4' from side and rear lot lines. ADUs located above a garage shall not be required to have a side or rear setback of more than 5'.

Fire Safety:

All walls less than 5’ from the proper ytline are 1-hour fire-rated construction.
No wall openings exist less than 3’ to property line.
All separation walls and floor/ceiling assemblies, plus their supporting construction for attached units, are 1-hour fire-rated construction if entire building has no fire sprinkler system, otherwise one-half hour fire-rated separation is provided.
Fire sprinklers are installed in Category One ADUs when main building requires a fire sprinkler system.
Fire sprinklers are installed in entire building when total floor area exceeds 3,600 sq.ft.
Fire sprinklers are included for new Category Two ADUs when required for primary dwelling.

Note: Fire Department regulations should be assessed on a project by project basis.

Shape, materials, and style:

Detached units must be clearly subordinate to the main dwelling in both size and location. Additionally,  exterior materials must be visually compatible.

Height:

Building Height: 

Category One: Same as primary residence
Category Two - Detached: 16’

Ceiling Height

Minimum of 7’ for habitable areas and 6’8” for non-habitable areas
Utility: Unit shall be provided with a separate clothes closet

Design review:

Category Two ADU shall be clearly subordinate to the primary dwelling unit in size and location. Also, the exterior materials of a Category Two ADU shall match or be visually compatible with that of the primary dwelling unit, including the siding material, roof shape and/or pitch, roofing material, trim material and design, and window types.

Note: Historic Neighborhoods or Districts should be assessed on a project by project basis.

Ownership:

The ADU may be rented, but only be for Permanent Residential Activities on a 30-day or longer basis and may not be sold separately from the primary dwelling. Unlike many districts, the property owner is not required to live in either the Primary or Secondary Unit.

Utility Connections:

Detached units may require new or separate utility connections, but the connection fee or capacity charge shall be proportionate to the burden of the new unit on the water or sewer system.

Note: Drainage and sewer connections should be assessed on a project by project basis.

Source Code:  

Important Note: Rules and regulations are updated and changed frequently. It’s one of our jobs to be up to speed and navigate those regulations. Let us know if our website isn’t up to date or if you have any information that could help. Cheers!