ADU Knowledge
June 8, 2024

Calabasas ADU Checklist - Can you build an ADU?

Argi Avetisyan
Argi Avetisyan
Gather ADU expert
Calabasas ADU Checklist - Can you build an ADU?
Not sure where to start with your ADU project?

Schedule a free appointment with one of our ADU experts.

Book a call

Introduction to ADUs and Their Growing Popularity in Calabasas

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) have been gaining significant traction in recent years, especially in desirable locations like Calabasas. These versatile units offer homeowners the opportunity to maximize their property’s value, provide additional living space for family members, or generate rental income. But can you build an ADU on your property in Calabasas? This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know to get started.

Understanding the Local Regulatory Environment

Before diving into the feasibility of building an ADU on your property, it’s crucial to understand the local regulations governing ADUs in Calabasas. The city has specific laws and guidelines that dictate where and how ADUs can be constructed.

Key Regulations:

  • Zoning Districts: ADUs are permitted within the following zoning districts: RS (Residential Single-family), RM (Residential Multi-family), RR (Rural Residential), HM (Hillside Mountainous), RC (Residential Condominium), PD (Planned Development), and OS (Open Space).
  • Unit Limitations: A single ADU is allowed per property that already contains one single-family dwelling.
  • Size Restrictions:
  • Attached ADU: Must not exceed the lesser of 1,200 sq. ft. or 50% of the living area of the primary unit.
  • Detached ADU: Maximum of 1,200 sq. ft.
  • Junior ADU (JADU): Maximum of 500 sq. ft.
  • Height and Setbacks: Detached units are limited to one-story and 16 feet in height. Side and rear setbacks must be a minimum of 4 feet unless constructed entirely within a legally established existing garage.
  • Parking: One additional off-street parking space is required unless the unit meets specific exemptions (e.g., located within half a mile of public transit).
  • Schedule a free consultation
Calabasas ADU

Can You Build an ADU on Your Property?

To determine whether your property is eligible for an ADU, follow this checklist:

  1. Zoning: Is your property located within one of the permitted zoning districts (RS, RM, RR, HM, RC, PD, OS)?
  2. Existing Development: Does your property currently have only one single-family dwelling?
  3. Size: Is your proposed ADU within the allowable size limitations (Attached: max 1,200 sq. ft. or 50% of primary unit; Detached: max 1,200 sq. ft.; JADU: max 500 sq. ft.)?
  4. Unit Separation: Does your ADU have a separate exterior entrance and no direct internal connection to the primary unit?
  5. Development Standards: Does your ADU comply with the minimum size (220 sq. ft.), height restrictions (16 ft. for detached), site coverage (max 30% of rear yard), and separation requirements (10 ft. from primary dwelling)?
  6. Setbacks: Do your plans meet the side and rear setback requirements (minimum 4 ft.)?
  7. Parking: Does your property comply with the parking requirements or qualify for any exemptions?

If you can answer “YES” to all these questions, your project may be feasible under the current Calabasas Municipal Code (CMC).

Schedule a free consultation for more information

The Process of Building an ADU

ADU from inside

Once you’ve determined your eligibility, the next step is to navigate the planning and construction process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

Step 1: Planning

  1. Zoning Clearance: Submit a General Land Use and Development Application for zoning clearance.
  2. Design: Work with an architect or designer to create detailed plans that comply with local regulations.

Step 2: Submittal Documentation

Submit the following documentation to the Building & Safety Department:

  1. Building Identification Project Application
  2. Building Permit Application
  3. Electrical Permit Application (if applicable)
  4. Mechanical Permit Application (if applicable)
  5. Plumbing Permit Application (if applicable)

Step 3: Construction

  1. Permits: Obtain all necessary permits before commencing construction.
  2. Build: Hire a licensed contractor to execute the construction according to the approved plans.
  3. Inspections: Schedule and pass all required inspections throughout the building process.

Costs and Financing Options

Building an ADU can be a significant investment. Here are some financial aspects to consider:

  1. Design and Permitting Costs: Fees for architects, designers, and permits.
  2. Construction Costs: Varies based on size, materials, and labor rates.
  3. Utilities: Additional costs for connecting utilities (water, electricity, sewage).
  4. Financing Options:
  • Home Equity Loans: Borrow against the equity in your home.
  • Construction Loans: Short-term loans specifically for building projects.
  • Government Grants and Incentives: Explore local and state programs that may offer financial assistance for ADU construction Schedule a free consultation for more information.

The Benefits of Having an ADU

ADUs offer numerous advantages for homeowners and the broader community:

  1. Additional Income: Rent out the ADU for supplementary income.
  2. Increased Property Value: ADUs can significantly boost your property’s market value.
  3. Housing Flexibility: Provides additional living space for family members or guests.
  4. Community Benefits: Helps address housing shortages and promotes sustainable living.

Real-Life Examples and Success Stories:

Detached garage converted into 800 sq. ft. ADU

1. A homeowner converted their detached garage into a beautiful 800 sq. ft. ADU. This additional living space now serves as a rental unit, providing them with a steady stream of additional income.

2. Another homeowner undertook the construction of a 1,200 sq. ft. detached ADU on their property. Their primary motivation was to provide a comfortable living space for their aging parents, allowing them to stay close while maintaining their independence.

3. A homeowner created a stylish 500 sq. ft. JADU (Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit) within their existing home. This space was specifically designed to accommodate their college-aged relative, offering them privacy and independence while still remaining within the family home.

Conclusion and Call to Action

Building an ADU in Calabasas can be a rewarding venture, adding value to your property and offering flexible living solutions. If you’re a homeowner interested in pursuing an ADU project, take the first step by understanding the local regulations and assessing your property’s eligibility.

Ready to get started? Reach out to your local planning department for guidance, and consider a free consultation with our experts to bring your vision to life. Don't miss out on the opportunity to enhance your property and lifestyle with a versatile ADU.

gather adu team

Not sure where to start with your ADU project?


Not sure where to start with your ADU project?

Book a free call