Accessory Dwelling Units

Accessory Dwelling Units, also known as Second Dwelling Units, “in-law” or “granny” units, are additional dwellings located on the same lot as a single-family residence which contains separate living/sleeping, sanitary, and cooking facilities. An accessory unit may be located within the principal dwelling or can be in a detached accessory building.  On January 1, 2017 new State laws went into effect (SB 1069 and AB 2299 ) regarding accessory dwelling units which voided our current local ordinance. We are currently developing a new ordinance to comply with the state laws but this process will take some time to complete. In the meantime, Planning staff will do our best to answer questions and interpret the new laws for each specific application we receive.

Please read the interim guidelines to help answer questions about the state laws until we have a new ordinance in place and contact Planning with additional questions.

More at:

General Application Form. The form must be filled out completely, shall identify all zoning entitlement(s) being requested, and shall be signed by the applicant and property owner. Unsigned applications shall not be accepted for filing.

Fees. The fee for an ADU review is a flat fee of $300. Checks should be made payable to the City of San Rafael. Applications shall not be accepted for filing until all required fees are submitted.

Project Plans. To review the plans for an ADU the Planning Division requires an initial submittal of four (4) hardcopies of plans drawn accurately, legible and to scale. Plans shall be on same-sized sheets (24×36 or 11×17) and be collated.

The project plans initially submitted shall include the following information:

Site Plan. The site plan should show the entire property, including the existing and proposed structures/additions, property lines, setbacks, parking spaces, and natural features such as large trees.

Floor Plan. The floor plan should show the existing and proposed floor plan. The necessary information needed on the plans is listed below:

Floor Levels (1st and 2nd floor, etc.), Walls, Windows, Doors, Equipment, Rooms and Uses; existing and proposed

Location, Dimensions and Square Footage of project area

Scale, Graphic Scale and North arrow

Orient floor plans to match site plan orientation

Project Description/Details. The description should include basic information such as:

Building square footage (existing and proposed), primary unit square footage, ADU square footage, and garage square footage.

Zoning Designation

Scope of work

Lot coverage (existing and proposed)