Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are attached or detached accessory dwellings that are accessory to primary Residential Facilities located on the same lot and provide complete independent facilities for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation.
ADUs require both Planning/Zoning and Building Bureau review. The City of Oakland's permit-ready ADU plans are complete sets of construction drawings based on current Building codes for a detached studio, one-bedroom/one-bath or two-bedroom/one-bath ADU. These drawing packages are pre-approved by the Planning and Building Department and are available "off-the-shelf" at no cost. Please follow the steps below to apply for an ADU using these plans.
Projects submitted using pre-approved ADU plans will be charged a reduced permit fee reflecting the need for minimal plan review. As a comparison, plan check fees for ADUs typically exceed $1,000, so a set cost can reduce a homeowner's overall permit costs by several hundred or even thousands of dollars. Please note that there are other fees associated with a building permit for an ADU such as inspections and school taxes. Applicants will receive an invoice showing the fees associated with their project.
Review the Zoning Criteria Checklist on pages 7-9 of either our Single-Family Application or Multi-Family Application to determine the feasibility of constructing one or more ADUs on your property. Please note that different separation distances from Single-Family, Two-Family and Multi-Family residences are required.
The Planning Bureau must review your site to determine if a pre-approved ADU plan is suitable for your location. Pre-approved plans may not be an option in certain neighborhoods or districts of the City. To verify that a pre-approved ADU is compatible with your site, please contact the City of Oakland's Planning Bureau at (510) 238-3911 or contact us through our Permit Questions Portal.
Prepare a Site Plan showing all existing structures, easements, utilities, and proposed location. See our Sample Site Plan and pre-approved plans for a Studio ADU, Single-Bedroom ADU or Two-Bedroom ADU. Note: The Sample Site Plan is illustrative only and not intended to reflect all of the site plan requirements from the application checklist for a specific project. An applicant should follow the checklist requirements for the site plan to address their project’s specific circumstances.
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. Depending on our workload and the complexity of the project, the process may take between 6-8 weeks from the date the City receives a completed application to the date when we issue your permit (subject to time limits set forth in California Government Code 65852.2).
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