There are two types of ADUs: standard ADUs and Junior ADUs [also known as JADUs]. There is also a third option, the “Efficiency Kitchen Alternative”.
Standard ADUs involve creation of a new independent living unit with separate exterior entrance from a primary single- or multifamily dwelling. There are three ways that standard ADUs can be created on a property:
JADUs involve creation of a new living unit, maximum 500 square feet, converted from within the walls of a single-family dwelling, including attached garages and other nonliving spaces. JADUs have an efficiency kitchen and a separate exterior entrance. A JADU may have interior access to the primary dwelling but this is not required. Bathrooms can be separate or shared with the primary dwelling.
The summary table below can help you decide which ADU is right for you. As noted in the table footnote, one standard ADU of 800 square feet is always allowed on residential parcels, regardless of other size maximums or site standards. See County Code Section 13.10.681 for full details.
*Regardless of other ADU size requirements or FAR or lot coverage, one ADU of 800 sf is allowed.
**Some new construction ADUs may be except from parking requirements due to location. Replacement parking is not required for ADUs that are converted from existing garages, except within certain areas in the coastal zone.
***Conversion ADUs and JADUs can include up to 150 square feet of new construction. Any new construction portions of conversion ADUs and JADUs must meet applicable ADU height and setback standards.
****Detached ADUs within the USL may be up to 21 feet with design review and Zoning Administrator approval.
ⱡ Special height and setback rules apply in the Pleasure Point and Seascape Beach Estates neighborhoods.
The County allows one full kitchen and one efficiency kitchen in any dwelling unit. The efficiency kitchen can be within a JADU but this is not required. Some applicants may find that a non-ADU “efficiency kitchen” alternative is preferable to constructing an official ADU or JADU. The following table compares key project considerations for these three options.
* Habitable non-ADU detached accessory structures are allowed but these structures cannot include kitchens and usually cannot include bathrooms. For more information about non-ADU habitable accessory structures, please see the Santa Cruz County Code, section 13.10.611.
** In some zone districts and for some types of sites, discretionary site development approval from the Planning Department, Zoning Administrator, or other agency may be required prior to obtaining a building permit.
*** Fees listed here cover building permits only. When discretionary approval is required, additional fees apply.
Pardon the inconvenience, the ADU guides are being updated to reflect new state ADU laws.