Accessory Structures: Garages & Sheds (Not ADUs)

Accessory structures include garages and sheds. Their use is customarily accessory to and incidental to that of the primary dwelling(s) located on the same lot. Zoning review and a Building Permit are required for most new accessory structures.

Date Posted: January 10th, 2022 @ 6:28 PM
Last Updated: March 25th, 2022 @ 10:19 AM

When Is a Permit Required?

Accessory structure icon

Accessory structures include garages and sheds. Up to one structure measuring less than 120 sq ft per property is generally permitted outright and does NOT count towards total lot coverage. If Mechanical, Electrical, or Plumbing (MEP) work is involved OR if the structure is greater than 120 sq. ft., accessory structures also require a Building Permit.

However, Zoning review is required. No Zoning Permit is required if the structure adds less than 10% new floor area to the property. The maximum height is generally 15’. Side and rear yard setback requirements may be waived IF the entire structure is within 35’ of the rear lot line, maximum wall height is 9’ and maximum ceiling height is 12’ at its peak, at least 50% of the rear yard remains open, and no bedroom or full bathroom is included. The setback exception regulations in the Planning Code may be viewed online under OMC 17.108.130, Subsection K.

Who Can Be Issued a Permit?

  1. Contractors who are licensed by the State of California with a classification appropriate for the work that will be performed and have a current Business Tax Certificate.
  2. Owners of a building or their legal representative.

How to Apply


Ready to get started? First, make sure you are registered and activated at our Online Permit Center. For instructions, please visit our Planning & Building Video Tutorials webpage.

STEP ONE: Zoning Review

  • Submit a Zoning Worksheet through our Online Permit Center*
    * NOTE: You will be taken to our login page first before you can submit a Zoning Worksheet
  • In the Worksheet, upload your completed Basic Application for Development Review including all site photos, a site plan, elevations and/or a cut sheet for vendor
  • A planner will review your submission
  • Once approved, you will receive confirmation from the Zoning Division

STEP TWO: Building Permit


Once we receive your application and have created it in our system, we will review your plans. If your plans require corrections or if we need further information, we will contact you. For the latest processing estimates, please see our Average Permit Processing Turnaround Times webpage.


Call (510) 238-3891 or find quick answers through our Permit Questions Portal. You may also schedule an appointment with Permit Counter staff during open hours.

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