East Palo Alto Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Standards

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


Guido Persicone, Planning and Housing Manager

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ADU Ordinance

Zones allowed

All residential zones
Lot restrictions

Cannot exceed density plan for the neighborhood (evaluated on a parcel level)

Minimum lot size

Attached: 5,500 sf

Detached: 7,500 sf

Min / Max ADU size

None / 700-1,000 sf (depending on lot size)

ADU building height

15 feet


6 feet rear, 3 feet sides, 6 feet from primary dwelling

Must be behind primary dwelling

Parking requirements
One parking space is required (added to the house requirement) unless state exemptions are met (ADU is within 1⁄2 mile of transit, in existing structures, in historic districts, within one block of car share locations, or in an area with residential parking permit rules that do not allow second units to get a permit). Tandem parking and parking in setbacks is allowed.
Owner occupancy

Owner must live in the main dwelling or the ADU

Sample fees from recently built projects*

ADU (500 sf): $18,314

Other requirements
  • Only one ADU per property is allowed.

  • ADUs must comply with all requirements of the underlying zoning district.

  • ADUs are permitted on sites with multifamily buildings.


Application is reviewed by planning to evaluate parking, zoning and lot size. If approved, can apply for building permit. Making an appointment to meet with a planner in the initial stages of the project can help avoid challenges and is highly recommended.


The Planning Commission can waive the ADU requirements with a use permit.

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