Brisbane Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Standards

        New laws were recently passed, and updates will be coming soon


Community Development Department

415.508.2120 – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ADU Ordinance

Zones allowed

R-1 and R-BA
Lot restrictions


Minimum lot size
Min / Max ADU size

150 sf / 1,000 sf

ADU building height

Lots with less than 20% slope: 28 feet

Lots with greater than 20% slope: 30 feet

Within 15 feet of front property line: 20 feet


Same as the primary dwelling:

  • Front: 10 ft for lots with 15% slope or greater / 15 ft for lots with less than
  • 15% slope

  • Rear: 10 ft

  • Side: 5 ft for lots at least 50 ft wide / 10% of lot width (no less than 3 ft) for lots less than 50 ft wide

Parking requirements

No parking required

Owner occupancy

Owner must live in the main dwelling or the ADU

Sample fees from recently built projects*

ADU 1 (538 sf, detached): $621
ADU 2 (732 sf, attached, new construction): $6,941 (includes single-family dwelling cost)

Other requirements
  • ADU must comply with California Building Code fire safety requirements. If the primary dwelling has sprinklers, the ADU must have sprinklers. Other fire safety standards may apply in unusual circumstances (i.e. ADU is located in setbacks).

  • Separate utility connections are not required for the ADU, but utility connection upgrades may be required if primary dwelling connections are not adequate.

  • Any tree removals require a Tree Removal Permit.

  • Additional requirements may apply per district requirements, including

    floor area ratio (FAR), lot coverage and other development standards.

  • Only one ADU per property is allowed.

  • ADUs are not allowed on lots with multifamily dwellings.


ADUs that are converted space (no new floor area) require a building permit only. New ADUs (new floor area, attached or detached) require administrative planning review in addition to the building permit. No design review is required in either case. Making an appointment to meet with a planner in the initial stages of the project can help avoid challenges and is highly recommended.


Limited setback exceptions may be available for structures 120 sf or smaller in rear and side yard; height restrictions apply. Refer to BMC Section 17.32.070.A.2.

Disclaimer: standards and process may vary. Consultation with the contact is recommended before starting any project.

*Fees are specific to each project and will vary. Fees change regularly. These are provided as examples only.

Download ADU Standards PDF

Updated: 12/11/2017