Redwood City Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) February 2020 Update

City of Redwood City
Feb 20 · 2 min read

As the housing supply and homelessness crisis in California continues, the State Legislature has continually passed numerous new laws and regulations over the last several years, with over 30 different pieces of housing legislation enacted so far in 2020. The City appreciates the community’s patience as we take the necessary steps to comply with constantly evolving laws and adjust practices in a timely way to limit frustration from property owners.

As background, in October 2019, the State Legislature passed three new bills requiring cities to further ease local restrictions on ADUs (also commonly known as second units, granny flats or in-law units) and to allow new types of ADUs in residential dwellings. Overall, these new rules reduce the timeline for permit review, provide for construction of junior ADUs (interior conversions of less than 500 square feet with at least an efficiency kitchen) within single-family homes, allow ADUs in multifamily buildings, increase allowable ADU square footage, limit restrictions on lot size, lot coverage, floor area, and open space, and regulate the short term rental of ADUs.

On February 10, 2020, the Redwood City City Council and Planning Commission held a joint study session to discuss these new State law requirements, and clarify the City’s ability to regulate ADUs with a new City ordinance. The joint study session included presentations from staff and questions from the Commissioners and Councilmembers, more specifically regarding maximum ADU square footage, lot coverage applicability, and maximum height. The study session also provided guidance on adoption procedures and permit applicability.

Staff will be analyzing the public comments and the discussion from the joint study session, and will return to the City Council with staff recommendations to amend the City’s ADU ordinance at the March 23 City Council meeting.

For more information on ADUs, please visit

To read the July 2019 blog “New Proposals Addressing Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Limits and House Size Limits/Floor Area Ratio (FAR),” go here.

You may view the video from the February 10 joint study session here.

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