Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

On Monday, October 2, 2017, the City Council adopted an Ordinance (PDF) to establish new regulations for Accessory Dwelling Units and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units. California Coastal Commission approval is required for the Ordinance to become effective, and on February 8, 2018, the Ordinance became effective upon Coastal Commission approval.

Visit the City's agenda center to view the staff reports and correspondence for the September 18, 2017 City Council Ordinance Introduction and October 2, 2017 City Council second reading/adoption of the Ordinance.

What is an ADU? What is a JrADU?

ADUs are secondary dwelling units with complete, independent living facilities (kitchen and bathroom) located on the same parcel as an existing single family dwelling. JrADUs are dwelling units developed within the walls of an existing single-family home, which have a bedroom, separate entrance, efficiency kitchen and a bathroom, or access to a bathroom within the main dwelling unit.


Under the adopted Ordinance, Accessory Dwelling Units are allowed in all residential zones EXCEPT RM-South (Medium Density Mixed Residential-South). They are also allowed in the Carmel Valley Precise Plan Specific Plan (CVPP). Junior Accessory Dwelling Units are only allowed in the following zones:

  • CVPP
  • R1-10
  • R1-10B
  • R1-14
  • R1-40
  • R1-5
  • R1-5B

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a size limit on my ADU/JrADU?

  • Yes, ADUs may not exceed 550 square feet, while JrADUs may not exceed 500 square feet Additionally, an ADU may not be more than 14 feet in height., with the exception that an ADU and a JrADU may be located on the second floor within an existing dwelling unit. A JrADU is always entirely contained within, and accessory to an existing single dwelling unit and involves no exterior development.

Does the square footage count toward Floor Area Ratio (FAR)?

  • Yes, both an ADU and a JrADU will count toward FAR. However, the size of an ADU is measured in terms of habitable floor space, which is then added to the existing floor area. The total of these two calculations must comply with the zone maximum.

Can I rent my ADU/JrADU?

  • ADUs and JrADUs may be rented for 30 consecutive days or greater, unless located in the RC zone, in which they may be rented without limit.

Is parking required?

  • Most properties will not be required to dedicate a parking space for an ADU, unless located more than 1/2 mile from a public transit stop. Please view the map (PDF), and if your property is highlighted, you will be required to designate a parking space for the ADU. No parking is required for a JrADU.

Can I have more than one ADU/JrADU on a lot?

  • No, a maximum of one ADU or one JrADU is permitted on a developed lot with a single dwelling unit.

Can I have an ADU or a JrADU on a property with a duplex?

  • No, only lots with a single dwelling unit are eligible.

How to Apply

State law requires a streamlined application process that exempts ADUs and JrADUs from all discretionary permits, including design review permits.

Applicants will need to fill out a uniform development application (PDF) and ADU verification form (PDF), pay associated fees (PDF), and submit development plan sets. Submitted plans that meet the requirements in Del Mar Municipal Code Section 30.91 will be approved within 120 days of a complete application submittal.

Benefits of ADUs/JrADUs

  • Can provide a greater balance of housing options and affordability to meet the City's housing goals
  • Can provide more affordable housing options for seniors and low-income individuals to remain in the community
  • Can provide independent accommodations for extended family or caregivers to live on the same premises
  • Can provide the opportunity for supplemental rental income to homeowners