Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

What is an ADU? What is a JrADU?

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a smaller (detached or attached) secondary dwelling unit with complete, independent living facilities (kitchen and bathroom) that is located on the same parcel as a primary dwelling unit (existing or proposed). 

A Junior ADU (JrADU) is a small dwelling unit (500 square feet maximum in size) that is developed within the walls of a single dwelling unit (existing or proposed). The JrADU must have a separate entrance, efficiency kitchen, and access to a bathroom either within the JrADU or via shared access with the primary dwelling unit.

New State Law Changes in Effect

On January 1, 2020, a new package of California laws related to ADUs took effect.  Visit the staff report (Item 9: California Housing Legislation Update and Confirmation of the Process for Update to the Local Accessory Dwelling Unit Regulations) for the January 13, 2020 City Council meeting to understand how the change in State law relates to the City of Del Mar.

Draft Ordinance in Process

On Tuesday, March 10, 2020, at 6:00 the City of Del Mar Town Hall the Planning Commission will hold a public hearing to provide a recommendation to the City Council on the proposed amendments to update the City’s Accessory Dwelling Unit Regulations in DMMC Chapter 30.91 and amend the Local Coastal Program in compliance with State law. Click here for the Staff Report.  The City Council will consider whether to adopt the amendments (ZA 20-001 and LCPA 20-001) in a future noticed public hearing of the City Council that is tentatively scheduled for April 20, 2020.

Zones Where ADUs and JrADUs Are Permitted 

Per State law, Accessory Dwelling Units are allowed in all zones that allow single dwelling unit or multiple dwelling unit development.  The lot must contain an existing or proposed dwelling unit.  In Del Mar, this includes all of the City’s residential zones and the Carmel Valley Precise Plan Specific Plan (CVPP).

Junior Accessory Dwelling Units are allowed only in single dwelling unit zones, which within the City of Del Mar include the CVPP, R1-10, R1-10B, R1-14, R1-40, R1-5, and R1-5B zones.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

View the FAQ Sheet Here

How to Apply

State law requires a streamlined, ministerial review process for proposed ADUs and JrADUs that exempts all such applications that meet each of the specified objective review standards from discretionary permit review, including design review.

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 60 days of a complete application submittal. If the ADU or JrADU permit application is processed at the same time as a permit application for a new primary dwelling unit on the lot, the City may delay acting on the ADU or JrADU application until the City acts on the permit application for the primary dwelling unit.

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 lower-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
  • Can help to reduce local vehicle miles of travel (VMT) and meet Climate Action Plan goals by accommodating a greater variety of housing options in close proximity to services and employers within the community