Capitola Secondary Dwelling Units

This is the term used by Capitola for ADUs.

Chapter 17.99 Secondary Dwelling Units in the Capitola Municipal Code covers ADUs


Secondary dwelling units shall be allowed in the single-family residence district (R-1).

Before approval or modified approval of an application for a secondary dwelling unit requiring a conditional use permit, the decision making body shall find that:

A. Exterior design of the secondary dwelling unit is compatible with the existing residence on the lot through architectural use of building forms, height, construction materials, colors, landscaping, and other methods that conform to acceptable construction practices;

B. The exterior design is in harmony with, and maintains the scale of, the neighborhood;

C. The secondary dwelling unit does not result in excessive noise, traffic or parking congestion;

D. The property fronts on an adequate water main and sewer line each with the capacity to serve the additional secondary dwelling unit;

E. The site plan provides adequate open space and landscaping that is useful for both the secondary dwelling unit and the primary residence. Open space and landscaping provides for privacy and screening of adjacent properties;

F. The location and design of the secondary dwelling unit maintains a compatible relationship to adjacent properties and does not significantly impact the privacy, light, air, solar access or parking of adjacent properties;

G. The secondary dwelling unit generally limits the major access stairs, decks, entry doors, and major windows to the walls facing the primary residence, or to the alley if applicable. Windows that impact the privacy of the neighboring side or rear yard have been minimized. The design of the secondary dwelling unit shall relate to the design of the primary residence and shall not visually dominate it or the surrounding properties;

H. The site plan shall be consistent with physical development policies of the general plan, any required or optional element of the general plan, and any area plan or specific plan or other city policy for physical development. If located in the coastal zone, a site plan shall also be consistent with policies of the local coastal plan;

I. The orientation and location of buildings, structures, open spaces and other features of the site plan are such that they maintain natural resources including significant trees and shrubs to the extent feasible and minimize alteration of natural land forms;

J. The site plan is situated and designed to protect views along the ocean and of scenic coastal areas. Where appropriate and feasible, the site plan restores and enhances the visual quality of visually degraded areas.

All secondary dwelling units must conform to the following design and development standards:

1. Parking. Parking requirements shall meet the underlying zoning requirement for the combined square footage of habitable space of the subject property.

2. Unit Size. The floor area for secondary dwelling units shall not exceed five hundred square feet for lots between five thousand and seven thousand five hundred square feet. If a lot exceeds seven thousand five hundred square feet, a secondary dwelling unit may be up to six hundred forty square feet and, for lots in excess of ten thousand square feet, a secondary dwelling unit may be up to eight hundred square feet. In no case may any combination of habitable buildings occupy more than sixty percent floor area ratio (FAR) of the subject property. No secondary dwelling units shall be allowed on lot sizes less than five thousand square feet.

3. Existing Development on Lot. A single-family dwelling shall exist on the lot or shall be constructed in conjunction with the secondary dwelling unit.

4. Number of Secondary Dwelling Units Per Parcel. Only one secondary dwelling unit shall be allowed for each parcel.

5. Setbacks for Detached Secondary Dwelling Units. A minimum five-foot side-yard setback and minimum eight-foot rearyard setback are required for detached single-story structures containing a secondary dwelling unit. Detached secondary dwelling units shall be no higher than one story. If any portion of a secondary dwelling unit is located in front of the main building, then the front and side yard setbacks shall be the same as a main building in the zoning district. The entrance to the detached secondary dwelling unit shall face the interior of the lot unless the secondary dwelling unit is directly accessible from an alley or a public street. Openings (e.g., doors and windows) on exterior walls that are closest to and face adjacent residentially-zoned properties shall be designed to ensure that privacy and access to light and ventilation is not diminished on adjacent properties.

6. Setbacks for Attached Secondary Dwelling Units. Attached secondary dwelling units shall meet the same setbacks as a main building in the zoning district.


See Chapter 17.99 Secondary Dwelling Units in the Capitola Municipal Code

City of Capitola

City of Capitola Building Permits