The State of California supports development of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs), also known as granny or in-law units, as a meaningful housing solution. ADUs and JADUs are now permitted by-right on any residentially zoned lot in Petaluma. Please review the information below to learn more about our local requirements for developing an ADU or JADU.
Step 1: Design Your ADU/JADU
- Key local development standards are described below. Complete development standards for ADUs and JADUs are in Section 7.030 of the Petaluma Implementing Zoning Ordinance (IZO). The development standards described below are Planning development standards regulating site location, building height, and building size.
- A Building Permit is required for development of an ADU/JADU. Our Building Division provides an ADU Checklist which details specific application requirements.
- The Napa Sonoma ADU Center has a number of helpful resources, including an ADU Calculator, ADU Workbook, and free, customized ADU Feasibility Consults.
- Consider working with a design professional to help you plan and budget for a new ADU or JADU.
- City staff can further assist you with questions related to permit requirements and associated fees. To contact Petaluma Planning staff, please follow the link here to find the different ways to receive assistance from staff: https://cityofpetaluma.org/planning-assistance/
- No change to existing building footprint.
- Does not apply to ADUs that have a total living area no greater than 800 square feet, are not taller than 16 feet, and provide minimum four-foot side & rear-yard setbacks. Up to 1,000 square feet.
- Measured as total living area. “Living area” is the interior habitable area of the accessory unit including basements and attics but not including garages. Living area shall be measured from the interior side of the exterior walls of the building.
Important Things to Note While Designing Your ADU or JADU
- Open Space. Parcels on which accessory dwellings are built are required to have a minimum of 100 square feet of useable open space available for use by occupants of the unit, independent of the primary residence’s requirement.
- Fire Sprinklers and Fire Attenuation. Accessory dwelling units shall not be required to provide fire sprinklers if fire sprinklers are not required for the primary residence.
- Short Term Vacation Rentals. All accessory dwelling units permitted after September 7, 2017, shall only be rented for a term of more than 30 days. No accessory dwelling units permitted after September 7, 2017, shall be permitted as a short-term vacation rental under Section 7.110.
- Owner Occupancy Requirements for JADUs. The owner of a parcel with a single-family dwelling and a proposed junior accessory dwelling unit shall occupy as a principal residence either the primary dwelling or the accessory dwelling.
Step 2: Submit required applications
- A Building Permit application and an Address Assignment application are required to be submitted and approved before beginning construction of your ADU/JADU. Please follow this link to find Building Permit application and Address Assignment application by visiting https://cityofpetaluma.org/permit-process/.
- For online Permit Requirements and Fees information and services, please visit https://petalumaca-energovweb.tylerhost.net/apps/SelfService#/home.
Step 3: Build your ADU/JADU!
- During construction, Building Division will conduct several inspections to ensure that construction complies with the local Building Code.
- The final step in the building permitting process is to issue your Certificate of Occupancy.