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Sunnyvale, California: ADU Regulations

City or County:

Sunnyvale, California

Date Updated:



New or Expanded ADUs: R-0/R-1/R-2/Residential DSP blocks

Conversion ADUs: R-0/R-1/R-1.5/R-1-7/PD/R-2/Residential DSP blocks

Types of ADUs:

Standard ADUs (SADU), which are attached/detached/conversion, and Junior ADUs (JADU)

Streamlined and non-streamlined processing are also important in Sunnyvale



Second-story only allowed above primary dwelling unit

Lot Size:


Maximum ADU Floor Area:

Min. 150 sq.ft., Max 850 sq.ft. one bedroom, 1000 sq.ft. two or more bedrooms

JADU: 500 sq. ft.

Lot Coverage:

For ADUs greater than 800 sq.ft., lot coverage zoning requirements found in Title 19 must be satisfied.


No min/max


No min/max


Require separate kitchen facilities (permanent range, counters, refrigerator, sink). JADU can have “independent” kitchen.


Require separate bathroom.

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


In addition to required spaces for primary dwelling, one off-street parking space must be provided for each ADU, can be in tandem on existing driveway.

Parking Exceptions:

No parking space is required if unit:

  1. Is located within one-half mile of major transit stop.
  2. Is located within a designated historic district.
  3. Is part of existing main dwelling or existing residential accessory structure intended for human habitation.
  4. When on-street parking permits required but not offered to the occupant of ADU.
  5. Has car share vehicle located within one block of ADU.


Side and Rear 4’

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


16’ for Detached

Attached as per municipal review


Cannot be placed in front of main dwelling.

Traffic Impact Fee (TIF):

TIF is required for ADU 750 sq.ft. or greater, and calculated proportional to size of primary residence

Fire Sprinklers:

Detached: not required
Attached: required if required for primary, or if new attached unit is >50% of existing living space


Exterior materials, colors and appearance to match primary structures on same lot. 1-Hour Fire Rated Construction Wall is required between an attached SADU (conversion and addition) and the primary residence. Detached SADUs located 5’ from any property line shall be fire rated construction. If an interior door is proposed between the main building and the attached SADU, such door shall be 45-minute fire rated, self-closing and self-latching.

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


Entrances and outside stairways serving ADU shall not be constructed on any building elevation facing public street.

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!