Department of Planning & Development
Department of Planning & Development

Ordinance Amendment Adopted - Effective 08/19/2015 
Adopted ADU Ordinance

Accessory Dwelling Unit Zoning Amendments

The City of Berkeley is considering changes to the regulation of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), also known as “granny flats” or second units.  This project is in response to a referral from the City Council.  Background materials are linked below. 

The City Council considered the changes on September 16, 2014. The Council took no action and requested that staff return for a work session on the topic.  On March 24, 2015, the Mayor presented a request that the City Manager incorporate a number of requirements to allow Accessory Dwelling Units as-of-right and then return to Council with appropriate ordinance language to implement.   

The specific motion of the Council was to request the City Manager incorporate requirements outlined below to allow Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) as-of-right and return to Council with appropriate ordinance language to implement.  ADUs not conforming to these standards may be considered with an Administrative Use Permit.

  1. No lot size requirement.
  2. Maximum size of 750 square feet or 75% of the primary structure, whichever is less.
  3. Height - 14 foot maximum height at peak of roof, 10 foot maximum at eave of roof. Not to exceed 10 feet at property line.
  4. Setback – 4 foot minimum side and rear setback from property line. No side or rear setback required if ADU will replace preexisting buildings on the property line.
  5. Parking - tandem parking in driveway is allowed (including non-conforming driveways that don’t comply with the minimum 2-foot landscaping strip).  Proposed ADUs that are within one quarter mile of a BART station and located in an RPP zone will have no additional parking requirement. No Residential Parking Permit will be issued to an ADU under all circumstances.    
  6. Other - Legal property owner shall live in main dwelling unit or ADU.  If ADU is built on property line, doors and windows cannot face neighbors’ property.  Should be excluded from use as short term rentals.  ADUs are prohibited in the Environmental Safety Residential (ESR) zone.  ADUs may be allowed with an AUP on lots on streets that do not meet minimum fire access requirements.  ADU may be allowed only if the fire flow and water pressure meet minimum fire safety requirements.

The first reading of the amendment reflecting this language is scheduled for the City Council's June 23, 2015 meeting.  If the City Council chooses to adopt this ordinance we expect the second reading on July 14, 2015.  There is a typical thirty day period after the City Clerk has signed the ordinance before it is codified.  Therefore, the estimated time period for the ordinance to take effect would be the third week of August.  Please note that this is the timeline as we currently understand it and is subject to change.  For further information on the City Council's schedule or a copy of the staff report, please visit the City Council Agenda page:

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The September 16, 2014 City Council Staff Report (see Item 4) and a video of the meeting are available here.

Planning Commission Reports:

  Public Hearing Notice June 4, 2014.


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