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Council Prepares to Allow Junior Accessory Dwelling Units

Post Date:12/14/2018 3:45 PM

At its meeting on December 11, the City Council approved the first reading of zoning ordinance amendments that would allow so-called junior accessory dwelling units, or JADUs, in Sausalito. The Council also approved the first reading of amendments to regulations for accessory dwelling units, also known as ADUs.

The changes to City ordinances related to accessory dwelling units and the new ordinance allowing junior accessory dwelling units are in response to recent revisions to state law allowing JADUs and relaxing the requirements for ADUs. Allowing JADUs and ADUs helps the City of Sausalito achieve the following goals:
  • Increase the housing stock in Sausalito
  • Provide affordable housing units for renters
  • Meet state requirements for new and affordable housing units
  • Allow homeowners to generate extra income, which may make it possible for them to stay in their homes longer
The ordinances on junior accessory dwelling units and accessory dwelling units also contain amnesty periods to legalize existing unpermitted ADUs and JADUs.
The City first allowed accessory dwelling units in 2012. An ADU is defined as a small unit that is accessory to the main dwelling on the lot. ADUs can either be attached to the primary dwelling, constructed within existing space, or detached from the primary dwelling. ADUs must have exterior access and their own kitchen and bathroom. State law updated in 2018 requires municipalities to allow ADUs in all residential zoning districts that allow single-family homes and to allow the creation of efficiency units, among other changes.

A junior accessory dwelling unit is best thought of as halfway between a roommate situation and an independent apartment. JADUs are limited to 500 square feet and must be created within an existing dwelling, have their own cooking facilities (e.g. a kitchenette), and have both interior and exterior entrances. A JADU may have a shared bathroom. The state of California first allowed JADU ordinances in 2016.

The City Council's second reading of the ADU and JADU ordinances is expected to take place at its meeting on January 8, 2019. If the second reading is approved on January 8, the ordinances would go into effect 30 days later. The amnesty period to legalize unpermitted ADUs and JADUs would run from March 31, 2019 through March 31, 2020.

Any questions about junior accessory dwelling units or accessory dwelling units may be directed to Associate Planner Katie Faulkner at (415) 289-4135 or

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