Do you know the permitting process for an accessory dwelling unit in the City of Santa Barbara?

An Accessory Dwelling Unit, otherwise known as an ADU or Granny Flat, is a smaller, secondary residence on a property. In 2016, California passed a law requiring cities to allow ADU’s as a way to increase housing stock in the state. Since this law was passed, Santa Barbara has seen an increase in applications to build these structures.

We broke down the steps and requirements to getting a permit for an ADU. For the full version, please refer to the City’s handout: ADU Submittal Requirements, Title 28 – Inside Coast Zone.

The process starts with an optional Pre-Application. If you decide to do this, the Planning staff will review your proposal for zoning compliance before you submit for a building permit. This review will take about 30-45 days. Consider this step as a last check to review zoning.

The next step is Coastal Review. If the site of the project is located in the Coastal Zone, a Coastal Exemption/Exclusion or a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) is required to permit an ADU. Contact the planning Counter to go over the appropriate coastal review for your project and any additional fees. It is important to note that a detached ADU always requires a CDP if located in the Coastal Zone. This step is only for projects located in the Coastal Zone, so check to see if your property is in the Coastal Zone here.

The third step is the Building Permit. A completed and executed ADU Covenant must be submitted after the initial building permit submittal but before the permit is issued. Once the application is accepted, the ADU Covenant is recorded and the building permit will be issued. This step includes the forms, combined permits, timing, and possible disapproval of an application.

For more details about the complete application submittal requirements, check out our blog post, “What information is required for a complete accessory dwelling unit application?”

Do you know the permitting process for an accessory dwelling unit in the City of Santa Barbara?