Riverside's ADU Ordinances


The State of California has identified accessory dwelling units (ADU) and junior accessory dwelling units (JADU) as valuable forms of housing. The City recognizes the importance of providing housing and balancing that with an attractive living environment for all residents. The availability of ADUs and JADUs contributes to local housing and the community's housing stock while providing residential uses consistent with the General Plan and Zoning Code. The purpose of this Chapter is to ensure compliance with California Government Code Section 65852.2 and minimize impacts to surrounding uses and properties.

ADUs and JADUs, as defined in Article X (Definitions), are permitted in all residential zones, including all multi-family and mixed-use zones that include an existing or proposed dwelling.

19.442.030 - Requirements.

An application for an ADU or JADU shall demonstrate compliance with all the standards and limitations set forth in this section, to the satisfaction of the Community & Economic Development Director or his/her designee.

A. General.

  1. ADUs and JADUs shall comply with State and local building code requirements for dwellings.
  2. ADUs and JADUs in an historic district shall comply with California Government Code Section 65852.2 and Title 20 of the Riverside Municipal Code.
  3. ADUs and JADUs, when rented, must be used for rentals of terms longer than 30 days.
  4. No actions to correct zoning nonconformities related to physical improvements are required for ADUs.
  5. There shall be no minimum lot size requirement to establish an ADU or JADU.
  6. The floor area of an ADU or JADU shall not be counted when calculating lot coverage.
  7. ADUs may not be sold or otherwise conveyed separate from the primary residence with the exception of a primary dwelling and ADU developed by an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) housing-related nonprofit or a faith-based organization, working with the Housing Authority, whose mission is to provide units to low-income households.
  8. For JADUs, a deed restriction shall be recorded, to run with the land, to prohibit the sale of the JADU separate from the sale of the primary dwelling and restrict its size as identified in 19.442.030(F).
  9. ADUs and JADUs are exempt from all provisions of Chapter 19.219 - Residential Protection Overlay Zone including any application to a primary dwelling, the dwelling area, number of bedrooms or other characteristics.

B. Location.

  1. An ADU or JADU shall be located on the same lot as the proposed or existing primary dwelling.
  2. An ADU or JADU must have independent exterior access separate from the proposed or existing primary dwelling.
  3. An ADU may be either attached, located within the living area of the proposed or existing primary dwelling, or detached from the proposed or existing primary dwelling.
  4. A JADU shall be constructed and located within the walls of the proposed or existing primary dwelling, not including the garage, and include:
  5. Cooking facilities with appliances, a food preparation counter and storage cabinets that are of reasonable size in relation to the size of the JADU.
  6. Separate sanitation facilities or shared sanitation facilities with the existing structure.

C. Setbacks.

  1. ADU setbacks shall comply with California Government Code Section 65852.2 as amended from time to time.
  2. For any existing structure, attached or detached, converted to an ADU, no setback requirements shall apply.
  3. The side and rear setbacks for an ADU must be sufficient for fire and safety.

D. Unit Size.

  1. The total floor space of an attached ADU shall not exceed 50 percent of the existing primary dwelling living area or 1,200 square feet, whichever is less.
  2. The total floor space of any detached ADU shall not exceed 1,200 square feet.
  3. JADUs shall be no more than 500 square feet in size.

E. Number of Units.

  1. Single-family. The number of dwellings permitted on a single lot in any single-family residential zone shall be limited to the primary dwelling, one ADU and one JADU.
  2. Multi-family.
  • a. Existing Structures
    • i. At least one ADU, but no more than 25 percent of the existing number of multi-family dwellings, shall be permitted within existing structures on lots with multi-family dwelling structures.
    • ii. ADUs can include conversion of storage rooms, boiler rooms, passageways, attics, basements or garages provided the ADU complies with building standards for dwellings.
    • b. New Structures. No more than two new detached ADUs shall be permitted on a lot that has an existing multi-family dwelling.
    • F. Owner Occupancy.
    • a. On a single lot with a primary dwelling and ADU, neither is required to be owner-occupied.
    • b. On a single lot, one JADU is allowed if the primary dwelling or JADU is owner-occupied which shall be recorded with the deed restriction.
    • G. Height. All ADUs shall comply with the height restrictions of the underlying zone.

H. Parking.

  1. No parking shall be required for an ADU or JADU.
  2. No replacement parking shall be required for the primary dwelling if a garage, carport or covered parking is converted to an ADU.

I. Utilities.

  1. ADUs shall not be considered a new residential use for the purposes of calculating connection fees or capacity charges for utilities, including water and sewer service unless the ADU is constructed with a new single-family dwelling.
  2. A new or separate utility connection, connection fee, or capacity charge shall not be required by the utility provider for an ADU located within the existing primary dwelling unit.
  3. A new or separate utility connection, connection fee, or capacity charge shall not be required by the utility provider for an ADU unless the ADU is constructed with a new single-family dwelling.
  4. For new ADUs on a lot with an existing primary dwelling unit, the connection may be subject to a connection fee or capacity charge that shall be proportionate to the burden of the proposed ADU, based upon either its size or the number of its plumbing fixtures, upon the water or sewer system.
  5. ADUs served by a private sewage system shall comply with County Health Department requirements, as applicable.

J. Impact Fees.

  1. For ADUs under 750 square feet, no City impact fees shall apply.
  2. For ADUs over 750 square feet, impact fees shall be charged proportionately in relation to the square footage of the primary dwelling unit.

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