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If you have questions about the ADU permitting process, please reach out to our ADU
Ally at the Permit Center:

ADU Ally

ADU Permit & Plan Review Process

Congratulations on making the decision to build an ADU!

We're here to help you with the steps for obtaining a building permit  see below, or view the handout, "Your Pathway to a Completed ADU.

If you are interested in a tiny home on wheels as your ADU project, please note that this has a simpler, specific permit process; you’ll want to read the information and follow the permit instructions on Bulletin 291-Tiny Home on Wheels Permit Checklist.

Step # 1:
review the ADU Universal Checklist

The ADU Universal Checklist will help you learn about basic ADU requirements for a specific property. It will help you learn if your project requires any special permits or clearances and plan for related expenses. The ADU Building Plan Requirements handout and Inspection Checklist for ADUs may help you and your professional design and construction teams create plans for your ADU project. Using these resources will help you avoid potentially frustrating and costly experience of having to alter your design after you already created plans or began construction.

Homeowners, designers, and construction professionals should all understand how the items covered in the checklist will affect the ADU design.

So before you create building plans, be sure to review the ADU Universal Checklist.

Need help with the checklist? We offer a free consultation with a City planner. The planner will help you understand what your ADU construction plans should address in order to comply with the Zoning Code. For this consultation, please bring:

  • ADU Universal Checklist, preferably with the questions answered.
  • A rough site plan (may be hand-drawn) that shows:
    • Lot boundaries and dimensions
    • Location of the primary dwelling unit
    • Location of the proposed ADU.

To meet with a planner, no appointment is required. Just come to the Permit Center, 1st floor, City Hall. Take the bus, or we offer validated parking in the City Hall Tower garage; entrance is on 6th Street. Upon arrival:

  • Go to the Permit Center kiosk to obtain a ticket to meet with a planner.
  • Tap "Planning Services" button
  • Tap "ADU Questions" button.
  • Take the ticket and when your number is called, go to the round Assistance Desk.

Step # 2:
Prepare your ADU Plan Submittal Package

When your ADU concept addresses all of the items on the ADU Universal Checklist, you're ready to prepare your construction plans.

Plans involve technical codes and homeowners are advised to hire an experienced professional to draw the plans. Working with an experienced professional will save you time and money in the long run, because City staff will NOT process inaccurate or incomplete plans. Instead, they will ask you to come back with revised plans that contain the required information.

Professionals who create ADU building plans are directed to follow the instructions on Bulletin 211 - ADU Building Plan Requirements.

Step #3:
Submit the Plans for Review

You or your designer/builder can submit the plans. For more information, see How to Get a Building Permit.

An appointment is required to submit plans. They can be submitted any weekday, but we also offer expedited services for qualifying ADU projects on "ADU Tuesdays." 

To  understand which service is best for your project, schedule the appointment with the ADU Ally, our staff member who supports ADU projects. Contact the ADU Ally at or 408-793-5302.

The ADU Submittal Package must include:

Step #4:
Construction & Inspections

Once your plans are approved and you have the building permit, construction can begin. Your contractor will schedule appointments at the appropriate junctures for inspections.

Plan ahead for a successful inspection by going over the Inspection Checklist for ADUs with your contractor.  

Once construction is complete and the final building inspection is approved, your ADU is ready for moving in!

Download the handout, "Your Pathway to a Completed ADU," for an outline of the ADU permitting process.