STATEWIDE UPDATE: New California ADU Bills SB13, AB68, AB881, AB670 have passed. These laws will create more options for building an ADU in Sunnyvale in 2020. To prepare for the upcoming changes use our ADU Services to learn how these laws will effect your property!
Schedule ADU Consultation (408) 752-5614 ext: 374

Sunnyvale ADUs

Everything about building Accessory Dwelling Units in Sunnyvale, CA

Research local zoning codes for ADU design
Calculate returns and costs to get financing
Estimate your project costs and timeline

Check your property to get zoning info & price quotes for ADU feasibility & design services:

I'm interested in


Last Updated 08/11/19

codes

The city government of Sunnyvale has updated its local zoning codes to comply with the State ADU mandate.
The California Building Code (CBC) 2016 is adopted with the following amendment(s): 3100-16 to 3101-16
Relevant state bill updates for SB13, AB68, AB881, AB670 are shown in green below.


hintsights

City Hint: The city has not yet responded to requests for ADU permit volumes for the past year, but they will be provided here once response has been received.


Zoning

Number of ADUs allowed:

No more than one accessory dwelling unit shall be located on any lot

AB68 & AB881 Update: Properties which convert existing space to create ADUs may be eligible for one ADU -AND- one JADU.

Types of ADUs allowed:

Detached ADU, attached ADU, junior ADU.

Lot size:

R-0 districts require 6,000 square feet and R-1 zoning districts require 8,000 square foot minimum areas. In R-2 zoning districts and residential DSP blocks require 5,000 square foot minimum areas.

AB68 & AB881 Update: Properties will not be subject to minimum lot standards by ordinance or of the applicable zoning district.

ADU size:

The total size of an accessory dwelling unit shall be no less than one hundred fifty square feet and no greater than seven hundred square feet.

AB68 & AB881 Update: Properties will be allowed up to 850 square feet for a one bedroom or up to 1,000 square feet for a two bedroom ADU.

Setbacks:

All setback, lot coverage, building height, open space, design review and other applicable zoning requirements in Title 19 shall be satisfied, except as permitted by variance or as otherwise provided in this section.

AB68 & AB881 Update: The maximum required setback for a detached new construction ADU shall be no more than 4 feet from the rear or side property lines.

Parking:

In addition to the parking spaces required for the primary dwelling, at least one off-street parking space shall be provided for each accessory dwelling unit, which may be provided as tandem parking in an existing driveway.

If a garage, carport, or covered parking structure is converted or demolished in conjunction with the construction of an accessory dwelling unit, those off-street parking spaces shall be replaced. The replacement spaces may be located in any configuration on the same lot as the accessory dwelling unit, including, but not limited to, covered spaces, uncovered spaces, or tandem spaces, or by the use of mechanical parking lifts. No setback is required for an existing garage that is converted to an accessory dwelling unit.

Parking in setback areas or tandem parking may be denied if found to be infeasible due to specific site or life safety conditions.

AB68 & AB881 Update: Properties which convert an existing garage will not be subject to replacement parking requirements.

Fire Safety:

Accessory dwelling units shall not be required to provide fire sprinklers unless required for the primary dwelling.

Shape, materials and style:

Exterior materials, colors and appearance of accessory dwelling units shall match the primary structures on the same lot.

Height:

All setback, lot coverage, building height, open space, design review and other applicable zoning requirements shall be satisfied, except as permitted by variance or as otherwise provided.

Design review:

Ministerial review process per state requirements. Design review shall not be required for minimal exterior changes that do not expand the existing structure.

Number of Bedrooms:

Not specified by State Standards.

Ownership:

Either the accessory dwelling unit or the primary dwelling must be the bona fide principal residence of at least one legal owner of the lot containing the dwelling, as evidenced at the time of building permit approval by appropriate documents of title and residency. The dwelling unit not so occupied may be rented. Prior to issuance of a building permit, each applicant shall provide evidence that a covenant has been recorded on the title of the affected property, to the effect that the property shall be owner occupied as defined herein, for the period of twenty years from the date the covenant is recorded, or until this provision is repealed, whichever occurs first.

SB13 Update: Owner-occupancy requirements for ADUs will be voided statewide for 5 years.

Utility connections:

Utilities. The applicant may be required to install a new or separate utility connection directly between the accessory dwelling unit and the utility and may be subject to a connection fee or a capacity charge established by the city council that shall be proportionate to the burden of the proposed accessory dwelling unit, based upon either its size or the number of its plumbing fixtures, upon the water or sewer system. This fee or charge shall not exceed the reasonable cost of providing this service.

Permit Fees

SB13 Update: Local impact fees for ADUs will be reduced substantially statewide.

Exceptions:

Off-street parking spaces for the accessory dwelling unit are not required if any of the following circumstances apply.
(i) The accessory dwelling unit is located within one-half mile of public transit.
(ii) The accessory dwelling unit is located within an architecturally and historically significant historic district.
(iii) The accessory dwelling unit is part of the existing primary residence or an existing accessory structure.
(iv) When there is a designated, fixed pick-up or drop-off location for a car share vehicle located within one block of the accessory dwelling unit.

Entry:

Entrances and outside stairways serving accessory dwelling units shall not be constructed on any building elevation facing a public street.

Allowed Zones:

R-0, R-1, R-2, and Residential DSP blocks.

AB68 & AB881 Update: ADUs will be allowed statewide in all single-family or multi-family zoning districts.

Lot Coverage:

At least one thousand square feet of open space is required for each R-2 lot with an accessory unit.

Existing:

Conversions of Existing Interior Space. An application for a building permit to create one accessory dwelling unit per single-family lot in the R-0 or R-1 zoning districts shall be ministerially approved subject to the following requirements:
(1) The unit is contained within the existing space of a legally permitted accessory structure or single-family residence.
(2) The total size of the accessory dwelling unit is no less than one hundred fifty square feet.
(3) The unit has independent exterior access from the existing residence.
(4) The side and rear setbacks are sufficient for fire safety.
(5) The applicant shall not be required to provide an off-street parking space for the accessory dwelling unit. However, the applicant shall be required to replace any parking spaces lost as a result of the conversion of the existing space to an accessory dwelling unit.
(6) Design review shall not be required for minimal exterior changes that do not expand the existing structure.
(7) The applicant shall not be required to install a new or separate utility connection directly between the accessory dwelling unit and the utility, and shall not be charged a connection fee or capacity charge related to such requirement. The applicant may voluntarily install a new or separate utility connection, which shall be subject to the same fees.

SB13 Update: Amnesty program to permit unpermitted units will be administered statewide, allowing non-health and safety code violations to be deferred.

Location:

No detached unit may be placed in front of the main dwelling.

Residential Building Code:

The California Building Code (CBC) 2016 is adopted with the following amendment(s): 3100-16 to 3101-16

Sunnyvale City Planning Offices
Permitting

Sunnyvale Planning & Zoning

456 W. Olive Ave. Sunnyvale, CA 94086 Sunnyvale, CA 94086

Sunnyvale ADU Marketplace

How can I get my ADU built?

Use our ADU Services and Marketplace to get expert assistance, permit-ready ADU designs and on-site contractor estimates on one platform.

Fast and low cost ADU design services

Search local contractors to get estimates

Featured Financing Program

ADU Financing

CA Statewide


Tailored to ADU construction.

Based on project size & appreciation.

Learn how to qualify.


Karyn Jones

Program Representative

Call Now (760) 496-5959

Read Sunnyvale Housing Market Update

Featured ArticleSunnyvale, CA
Featured ArticleSunnyvale, CA
Featured ArticleSunnyvale, CA

ADU Guides

ADU Services

A recent customer review:

"The property report was great! Made me feel like my project is feasible."

Alexandria in Santa Ana, CA

Customer since February, 2019


Learn about ADU Services


Estimate ADU Potential
Financing
Costs / ROI

APPRECIATION ESTIMATE

* upon completion of ADU

CONSTRUCTION COST ESTIMATE

* based on local average price per sqft

RENTAL ESTIMATE

* estimated by location

MORTGAGE ESTIMATE

* 30 years / 5% interest rate / 20% down payment

BASED ON LOCAL AVERAGE PROPERTY DATA & VALUE

Appreciation Estimate = (Base Value: $) / (Home's Living Space: sqft) * (ADU's Living Space: sqft)

Rental Estimate = (Rent Per Sqft: $4.51) * (ADU's Living Space: sqft)




How can I get my ADU built?

Our ADU Services and ADU Marketplace provide the fastest and lowest cost way to get started with your ADU project.

How does it work? Get started on your project with expert assistance and without commitment using our customized ADU Property and Design Reports as your first step. Then, get on-site visits from local contractors who can provide you with guidance and estimates for your ADU project.

Our Key Advantages

Compare all the costs and services in one place to find the best fit for your needs and budget

Order ADU zoning research, permit-ready designs and contractor estimates on one platform

Get started on your timeline and your terms, without commitment

The fastest and lowest cost way to get started with your ADU project





Our ADU Process

USE ADU SERVICES
Expert Feasibility & Zoning Research

Use our ADU Property & Design Reports as a starting point to plan your ADU project. Our experts will do the legwork with your city or county planning office and design custom ADU concepts for your property and your needs.

OPEN ADU MARKETPLACE
Find contractors to build your ADU

Use our local contractor database to get on-site visits and cost estimates to compare services for your ADU project.

Getting your designs ready for city permitting and construction can speed up your ADU project and reduce unforseen costs later on in the process.




Check your property to get zoning qualification & price quotes for ADU Services:

Access cost estimates, zoning analysis, design concepts and order ADU Services to get help with feasibility, design and permitting for your ADU project. Check your property to get started!

I'm interested in