ACCESSORY DWELLING UNIT (ADU)/JUNIOR ADU (JADU) PERMIT PROCESS  

What is an ADU or JADU?

An ADU is an attached or detached residential dwelling unit that provides complete independent living facilities for one or more persons and is located on a lot with a proposed or existing single family dwelling (SFD) or multifamily dwelling (MFD). It includes permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation on the same parcel as the SFD or MFD.  

A JADU is a unit that is no more than 500 square feet in size and contained entirely within a SFD. A JADU may include separate sanitation facilities or may share sanitation facilities with the existing structure.

What regulations are currently in effect for ADUs and JADUs?

The Board of Supervisors adopted new regulations for ADUs and JADUs that will go into effect in the Inland Area on June 17, 2021. The new regulations apply to any proposed ADU or JADU that does not receive an issued building permit by June 17, 2021. ADU and JADU building permits issued on or before June 17, 2021 shall remain valid provided that the proposed ADU or JADU receives final building inspection approval by May 18, 2022.  

The County will soon publish the new regulations in the County Land Use and Development Code (LUDC) and Montecito Land Use and Development Code (MLUDC). In the meantime, you may review the LUDC and MLUDC amendments.

The new regulations are substantially different from the previous regulations. Applicants should carefully review the new regulations before submitting an ADU or JADU application. In addition, applicants that have previously submitted an application but have not received an issued building permit should also review the new regulations and their proposed ADU or JADU. Applicants may need to revise their project to comply with the new regulations.

The Board of Supervisors also adopted new regulations for ADUs and JADUs in the Coastal Zone. However, ADUs located within the Coastal Zone shall remain subject to the permit requirements and development standards of Article II Coastal Zoning Ordinance Section 35-142 until the Coastal Commission certifies the new ADU ordinance. The certification process may take a year or more (i.e., summer 2022 or later).

What is the permitting process for an ADU or JADU?

The County has implemented a streamlined permit process for ADUs and JADUs. ADUs and JADUs now require building permits only (no planning permits or Exemptions). To begin, an applicant must submit a complete building permit application to the Building and Safety Division (B&S). Please see the Supplemental Application Submittal Requirements for a building permit application and other information and materials required for a complete submittal.  

During the plan check review, B&S will review the application for compliance with the Building Code.  The Development Review Division will concurrently review the application for compliance with the new State laws using the applicable ADU or JADU checklist shown below. 

ADU/JADU Building Permit Process Flowchart

Please see the Building Permit Process Flowchart, for a step-by-step guide to the new ADU/JADU permit process.  

ADU - Process Flowchart

ADU and JADU Checklists

Please see the checklists below for the standards that apply to ADUs located within residential or mixed use zones and JADUs. An ADU that does not meet all of the requirements of one of the below checklists shall be subject to LUDC Section 35.42.015.F or MLUDC Section 35.442.015.F, as applicable.   

  • ADU Checklist A - One ADU per lot located within (1) a SFD or accessory structure, and (2) a residential or mixed use zone. An ADU that complies with all standards of Checklist A may be located on the same lot as a JADU that meets the requirements of the JADU Checklist, below.
  • ADU Checklist B - One "small" detached, new construction ADU (i.e., subject to an 800 square-foot size limit and 16-foot height limit) per lot with a SFD and located within a residential or mixed use zone. An ADU that complies with all standards of Checklist B may be located on the same lot as a JADU that meets the requirements of the JADU Checklist, below.
  • ADU Checklist C - One or more detached ADUs located within (1) an existing MFD or accessory structure, and (2) a residential or mixed use zone.
  • ADU Checklist D - Up to two detached ADUs per lot with a MFD and located within a residential or mixed use zone.
  • JADU Checklist - One JADU per lot located within (1) an existing or proposed SFD or an attached garage, and (2) a residential or mixed use zone. A JADU that complies with all of the standards of the JADU Checklist may be located on the same lot as an ADU that complies with all of the standards of Checklist A or B, above.