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Accessory Dwelling Units

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Adding units to existing single family properties is a strategy many cities use to expand their housing options to meet an increasing and diverse housing demand in California. Chula Vista is no exception. Accessory Dwelling Units or “ADUs” and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units ("JADUs") are alternative housing models that can add to the affordably housing supply. ADUs and JADUs are also commonly known as secondary units, in-law units, granny flats, or backyard cottages. They are important dwellings in a neighborhood that offer an innovative, affordable and a well-suited housing option for couples, small families, friends, young people, seniors and family members.


Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)

CVMC 19.58.022

Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit (JADU) 

CVMC 19.58.023

 Guest House
 Attached or detached residential unit

 Contained within the existing structure, inclusive of an existing bedroom 

Interior entry to the main/principal home

 Detached living quarters
 Permanent and independent living  Permanent living

 Occasional guests of the occupants of the main home.

Max stay of 90 days, no renting or leasing.

 Owner-occupancy required  Owner-occupancy required  No owner-occupancy required
 Kitchen & Bathroom

 Efficiency kitchen

Separate or shared bathroom with existing home

 No kitchen or cooking facilities
 50% of living area of the main home or 1,200 sq ft (lesser of)  Maximum of 500 sq ft  


















"Am I allowed to build an ADU or JADU on my property?"

If you own a single-family home, the answer is likely yes! An ADU or JADU, along with a single family home, is allowed in any residential zone as long as it’s built according to the required development standards (refer to CVMC 19.58.022 and CVMC 19.58.023 for Junior Accessory Dwelling Units). Be sure to speak with staff at the Development Services Front Counter about what is and isn’t allowed or take a look at our Accessory Dwelling Unit Procedural Guide.


The costs of building an ADU or JADU can vary, depending on the type of unit you are constructing and the complexity of your existing structure. Fees will be required at the time you submit your application and will be collected at different stages along the process. For more information on fees please visit our "How Much will Your Permit Cost" page. Applicable fees may include building permit fees (plan review and inspection), Fire Department plan review, Development Impact Fees (if any), and other fees charged by outside agencies (e.g. school districts, water/sewer districts). 

Pursuant to California Government Code Section 65852.2(f)(3)(A), Junior Accessory Dwelling Units and Accessory Dwelling Units of less than 750 square feet are exempt from all development impact and in-lieu fees.  Accessory Dwelling Units 750 square feet or larger are charged proportionately to the primary residence, on a square footage basis.


Next, start thinking about how you want your ADU to look. There are a wide variety of options to consider such as a new structure either as a separate detached unit or attached to the existing house or the conversion of an existing space within the home. Once you’ve selected an architect and contractor, they will work with you to determine what style is most appropriate for your home.

The Development Services Department is here to help guide you through the ADU process. Visit the Development Services Front Counter or see our Accessory Dwelling Unit And Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit Procedural Guide for more help.

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