Are you ready to proceed with an ADU project? Take these following steps:
Step 1 - Meet with a City Planner--it's free
The first step is to meet with a City Planner and bring:
During this free consultation, the Planner will check that the project proposal complies with zoning code standards. This is a critical step BEFORE you invest in building plans. The Planner will initial the form and return it to you.
This worksheet, initialed by a Planner and signed by the property owner, must be submitted with your building permit application.
For the consultation, no appointment is needed. Come to the Permit Center, 1st floor, City Hall. Upon arrival:
» Go to the Permit Center kiosk to obtain a ticket to meet with a Planner.
» Tap "Planning Services" button
» Tap "ADU Questions" button. Take the issued ticket.
» When your number is called, you'll go to the round Assistance Desk.
For questions, call the Permit Center at 408-535-3555 and ask to speak with a Public Works representative.
Step 3 - Prepare plans and apply for a building permit
A building permit is required to build an ADU or install a modular unit. To obtain a permit:
Municipal Code 20.90.220(B)(2) - When a garage, carport, or covered parking structure is demolished or converted in conjunction with the construction of a Secondary Dwelling, and the required off-street parking spaces that were provided by such garage, carport, or covered parking structure, are required to be replaced on-site, the replacement spaces may be covered spaces, uncovered spaces, or tandem spaces, or replaced by the use of mechanical automobile parking lifts and in any setback area unless specific findings are made that tandem parking and parking in setback areas is not feasible based on specific site or regional topographical or fire and life safety conditions.
Exemptions - Municipal Code 20.30.150.I - No additional parking shall be required for an ADU that meets any of the below criteria.
2018 Secondary Unit Ordinance Changes
on public input and public hearings before the Planning Commission, in mid-2018 the City Council approved updates to Section 20.30 of the
Zoning Code to ease requirements for ADUs. The changes are now expressed in Section 20.30.150 of the Zoning Ordinance. The table below reflects the changes.
Lot Size (sf)
ADU Maximum Size (sf)
3,000 - 5,444
5,445 - 9,000
9,001 - 10,000
10,001 - Up
An ADU requires 1 space unless the property qualifies for an exemption under State law—see the Parking section of this webpage. If a garage has been converted, the main dwelling parking space must be replaced, as uncovered or in front or side setback areas. Parking spaces may be configured on-site per state law.