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San Rafael CA ADU Guidelines

Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) City Regulations

Are ADUs allowed in San Rafael:

Yes!

Number of ADUs allowed:

Limited to one secondary unit per primary dwelling.

Types of ADUs allowed:

Detached, attached, and junior ADUs are all permitted.

Lot size:

Lot size must meet a minimum of 5,000 sq. ft. and feature an existing single-family dwelling.

ADU size:

The maximum size of an ADU is 1,000 sq. ft. provided that any unit over 800 sq. ft. requires Planning Commission Use Permit approval.

Setbacks:

Attached ADUs are subject to the same setback requirements of the principal dwelling. Detached ADUs are subject to the setback requirements applicable to any accessory structures.

Parking:

ADUs require at least one parking space for a single bedroom, and one additional space for units with two or more bedroom. ADU parking may be uncovered and tandem if minimum restrictions are met.

Fire Safety:

Must follow state requirements.

Shape, materials and style:

Architectural compatibility must be approved by a City planner, who will review the design plans (and visit the project site in the case of legalizing a second unit) to ensure that the ADU features the same or similar paint colors, trim detailing, and window style as primary dwelling.

Height:

ADUs attached to the single-family dwelling are height limited to 30 feet above grade. Detached ADUs are limited to a height of 15 feet.

Design review:

ADUs are subject to ministerial review by the Planning Division before a building permit can be issued. Additional zoning entitlements may be required, as specified in San Rafael Municipal Code Section 14.16.285.

Ownership:

The property owner must reside in either the primary dwelling or the ADU. Additionally, a deed restriction must be recorded with the County Recorder.

Permit Fees:

Refer to https://www.cityofsanrafael.org/master-fee-schedule/

Exceptions:

Exceptions apply and can be found under Section 14.16.060 (Conservation of Dwelling Units).

Entry:

The ADU must have a separate entrance from the primary dwelling and cannot be located on the same side. The entry to the the principal dwelling should be parallel to the front property line.

Manual / Guide:

https://www.cityofsanrafael.org/second-unit-handouts/

Potential Rental Income:

According to Zillow.com, an accessory dwelling unit in San Rafael can generate $24,000+ per year in possible rental income.

For more ADU Information

https://www.cityofsanrafael.org/adu-signs-applications/

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