ADU Guidelines for East Palo Alto can be seen here


  1. What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) (Section 6426)?An ADU is a separate dwelling structure that is either attached (connected to) or detached (not connected to) the main house and has a full kitchen and full or partial bath.
  2. Occupancy Restrictions (Section 6430)
    • An ADU can be rented out separately from the main house.
    • The owner must use reside on-site, in one of the two units.
    • The ADU may not be occupied by more than three people as permanent living quarters.
  3. ADU Development Standards (Section 6429) (Must meet setback standards for accessory structures)

Lot size required for Attached ADU = 5,500 sq.ft.

Lot size required for Detached ADU = 7,500 sq.ft.

Second Unit Size

Maximum Size for Standard Lots = 700 square feet

Maximum Size for Larger Lots** =1,000 square feet

**Lots larger than 6,500 square feet may go beyond the maximum 700 square feet. Unit size may be increased by one (1) square foot for each ten (10) square feet of site area in excess of six thousand five hundred (6,500) square feet. Use the formula provided (see Guide)

  • Number of Units – Only one ADU is allowed per lot.
  • Building Code – The ADU shall comply with applicable building, health and fire codes.
  • Parking – One uncovered off-street parking space shall be provided for the ADU in addition to the off-street parking spaces required for the main dwelling.
  • Sewer – The ADU shall be served by sanitary sewer.
  • Utilities – Separate water, electric, gas, and sewer are required for the ADU.
  • Access – The ADU shall be served by the same driveway access to the street as the existing main dwelling.
  • Entrance – If the ADU is attached to the main dwelling, both the ADU and the main dwelling unit must be served by a common entrance or a separate entrance to the second unit must be located on the side or at the rear of the main dwelling.
  • Open Space – 750 square feet of usable open space must be provided in the rear yard.
  • Setbacks – Standard development setbacks apply to attached ADUs, and detached ADUs must meet accessory structure setback requirements.
  • Elevation Certificate – An elevation certificate (EC) is required to be submitted for a project that proposes new or substantially improved construction in the special flood hazard area (SFHA). The EC shall be submitted prior to Planning Division approval.


City of East Palo Alto website

East Palo Alto Planning Division