Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)

Welcome to the City of Oceanside's Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) resource page. The information on this page is intended to help Oceanside residents understand zoning regulations, building codes, and the process for constructing an ADU in the City of Oceanside. 

The City Council adopted a revised ADU Ordinance on August 19, 2020 in response to the ADU legislation enacted by the state on January 1, 2020.  Subsequent revisions were adopted by the City Council on February 23, 2022 for the purposes of adding clarifying language and making technical edits for  better implementation of  ADU provisions as required by state law.  The revised ADU Ordinance is located in Article 30, Section 3006 of the Zoning Ordinance and also available at the following link:

ADU ORDINANCE 2022 (Revised February 2022)


Key Changes to ADU Ordinance 

The State legislature enacted new ADU legislation (SB 13, AB 68, and AB 881) on January 1, 2020 intended to further reduce the regulatory barriers and costs and streamline approval of ADUs. The following are the key changes to the ADU Ordinance as mandated by Government Code Section 65852.2:

  • An 850 square-foot ADU (studio/one bedroom) or a 1,000 square-foot ADU (two bedroom or more), either attached or detached from the primary dwelling, with a maximum height of 16 feet and four-foot side and rear setbacks shall be permitted in any circumstance subject to compliance with all building codes. No lot coverage requirement shall apply.
  • A Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit (JADU) (Government Code 65852.22) shall be allowed within the space of an existing/proposed primary dwelling. State law requires the property owner to live on the premises. A JADU shall meet the following requirements:
    • Unit shall not be exceed 500 square-feet, but may include an expansion of 150 square-feet beyond the physical footprint of the existing structure limited to accommodating ingress and egress.
    • Unit shall have an efficiency kitchen with cooking facility and appliances, a food preparation counter, and storage cabinets.
    • Unit may include a separate sanitation facility or share the sanitation facilities with the existing dwelling.
    • Unit shall include exterior access from the primary dwelling.
    • No parking space is required.
    • Requires the recordation of a deed restriction prohibiting the separate sale of the unit and restricting the size and attributes.
  • JADU & ADU Combination: A JADU may also be established in the primary dwelling in combination with a detached ADU, that is either; 1) an ADU within the walls of a primary dwelling, 2) an ADU within an existing accessory structure, or 3) an attached or detached, new construction ADU subject to the Statewide Exemption ADU provisions as prescribed in Section 3006.D.1.d. of the Zoning Ordinance. State law requires the property owner to live on the premises.
  • Multi-family Provisions (Only applies to existing multi-family development):
    • An existing multi-family dwelling shall allow the construction of at least one ADU or up to 25 percent of the existing units in non-livable space, including, but not limited to, storage rooms, garages, passageways, attics, basements, or closets. The existing livable space of a unit shall not be converted into an ADU. In addition;
    • Not more than two detached ADUs with a maximum size of 850 square-feet, or 1,000 square-feet with more than one bedroom, and a maximum height of 16 feet and four-foot side and rear setbacks shall be permitted in addition to the above-referenced provision.
    • Detached ADUs may be constructed above existing detached accessory structures, including garages or similar structures, subject to maximum height and setback requirements of the underlying zoning district.
  • Garage conversions that displace the parking for the primary dwelling shall not require replacement parking or a parking space for the ADU.
  • The parking waiver for within one-half mile of public transit is now defined as “walking distance” rather than “as the crow flies.”
  • Rental of an ADU or JADU shall be for a term longer than 30 says per state law. No STRs allowed.
  • Building permit review of ADU shall be completed in 60 days. The clock stops when the city provides plan check comments to the applicant and restarts when the applicant resubmits plans. An ADU constructed concurrently with a new single-family dwelling shall not be approved until the permit for the primary dwelling is approved.

In addition to the new provisions, the City will continue to allow ADUs as provided in Article 30, Section 3006 of the Zoning Ordinance as follows:

  • A detached ADU up to a maximum of 1,200 square-feet subject to standard height, lot coverage, and setbacks of the zoning district in which it is located.
  • An attached ADU not to exceed 50% of the primary dwelling.
  • The ADU shall be architecturally similar to the primary dwelling in terms of design, building and roofing materials, colors, and exterior finishes. 
  • An ADU taking advantage of the four-foot setback provision shall not be allowed to exceed a height of 16-feet. An attached or detached ADU exceeding 16-feet must comply with the setbacks of the zoning district in which it is located. For example, a second story ADU addition above the primary dwelling that exceeds 16-feet does not qualify for reduced four-foot setbacks.
  • Front yard setback: All  ADUs shall comply with the standard front yard setback of the zoning district for which it is located.
  • Parking design and location shall be in accordance with Section 3006. One parking space shall be required for the ADU unless it qualifies for a parking exemption.
  • All development impact fees for which the city has control over have been waived. This excludes school fees. A pro-rated water buy-in fee may be required for additions or detached units based on need to upsize the water meter.
  • Building Permit Fees: Detached ADUs shall be assessed fees for a new single-family dwelling. Attached or conversion ADUs shall be assessed fees for an addition/remodel. There is a significant cost savings for attached or conversion units versus new detached construction.

ADU Workshop

Thank you to all of the residents who attended the ADU Workshop on November 12, 2019 in the City Council Chambers. The City of Oceanside, in partnership with the ADU Coalition of San Diego and AARP California,  conducted the public workshop to inform residents about the development regulations and process for constructing an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in the City of Oceanside. Topics included:

  • An overview of new ADU legislation (SB 68, SB 13, AB 881, AB 587, & AB 671)
  • City regulations and incentives
  • Guidance through the permitting and construction process
  • An overview of cost and financing

The State legislature previously enacted ADU legislation in 2017 and 2018 (SB 1069, AB 2299, SB 229, & AB 494)  with the intent to reduce regulatory barriers and costs, streamline approval, and expand the potential capacity for ADUs in response to California's housing shortage. The City Council adopted revised ADU regulations on August 9, 2017 and May 9, 2018, conforming to the provisions of Government Code Section 65852.2 as mandated by state law.

The City's Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance is located in Article 30, Section 3006 of the Zoning Ordinance. Key revisions to the ordinance include the waiver of certain development impact fees, flexible parking requirements or parking waivers, and a streamlined permit review process.

Please review the ADU Informational Guide and Fact Sheet as well as Visualizing the Code video featured on the resources page. For additional information regarding ADU regulations, please contact the Planning Division or visit the Development Services Department at 300 North Coast Highway.

Note: The following video was created prior to the adoption of the revised ADU Ordinance on August 19, 2020 and does not reflect current zoning requirements for the construction of an ADU. However, the video will assist Oceanside residents visualize the code and better understand general zoning requirements.  Please refer the revised ADU Ordinance for current code requirements.