Planning and Building Permits Required For a New Accessory Dwelling in San Ramon, CA

At New Avenue we have paid over 30 different types of permits to get residential projects approved.  These are “normal” projects too such as additions, remodels, restorations, accessory dwellings accessory structures and custom homes.

One of the architects who is a partner at New Avenue’s recently completed in depth research for the permits required for a new Accessory Dwelling in San Ramon, CA.

We guarantee your project will be different!  This is a great starting point if you are researching.  But we can guarantee your permit process will be slightly different, so use this for research purposes only!

Here are his findings:

Met with Lauren Barr, San Ramon City Planner.

Q: What is the zoning district?

A: Windemere 4 Development

Q: What is the allowable coverage? How is it measured

A: No required lot coverage

Q: Is there a floor-area ratio (FAR) between the Main Home and the Second Unit? What is it?

A: see below

Q: What is the maximum allowed size for the Second Unit?

A: Attached or detached second dwelling unit: 350 s.f. min. but not more than 35% of main house up to 1,200 max. which ever is less. Attached In-law unit (no kitchen): No limit. Detached In-law unit (no kitchen): 5% max. of lot size

Q: Do chimneys, window boxes, and/or bay windows count toward the square footage of the Second Unit?

A: No

Q: Do other structures count toward the existing footprint? What are they?

A: N/A, no required max. footprint

Q: Does the basement and/or attic count toward the floor area of the Main Home?

A: Only habitable spaces count towards floor area

Q: Can the Second Unit have two floors?

A: Yes

Q: Can the Second Unit have a loft, mezzanine, open storage, closed storage, and/or attic?

A: Yes

Q: Can the loft be habitable space?

A: Yes

Q: Can the Second Unit have a basement, workspace, or other area? Do they count toward square footage?

A: Yes. Yes if it is a habitable space

Q: What landscaping requirements and exceptions are there

A: N/A

Q: Is this a liquefaction zone?

Q: Is this a fire zone?

Q: Is this a flood zone?

Q: Is this an environmental zone?

Setbacks and Dimensions

Q: What is the front setback?

A: Addition to house (no kitchen ) 18′-0″ but can be reduced to 15′-0″ for ground floor space if garage is 18′-0″ min. from sidewalk. For second dwelling unit (with kitchen) a minimum of 20′

Q: What are the side setbacks?

A: Addition to house (no kitchen) 5′-0″, 10′-0″ at corner lots. For second dwelling unit (with kitchen) 7′ from the interior side and corner side property line. For a detached accessory structure (no kitchen, a min. of 6′-0″ setback required (this is based on max. building height of 9′-0″ minus 3′-0″)

Q: What is the rear setback?

A: Addition to house (no kitchen) 20′-0″. For second dwelling unit (with kitchen) 7′

Q: What are the required setbacks to the Main Home?

Q: What are any other required setbacks? Special setbacks may be needed for creeks, power lines, key or corner lots, etc.

Q: Are there any setback exceptions?

A: None that we know of

Q: Can the Second Unit be connected to the Main Home? If not, how far apart do they have to be?

A: Yes

Q: Can we continue a wall of an existing structure within a setback? Is there a maximum length for walls

Q: What is the maximum height limit? Is there a max average height limit? Can we match the height of the existing house?

A: 35′-0″ for second dwelling unit. 16′-0″ for detached unit. This is measured to the mid point of a sloped roof.


Q: Do we measure from the sidewalk, the property line, or from somewhere else?

A: property line

Q: How many parking spaces are required for the Main Home? Sizes? Do they need to be covered? What configuration or access must they have?

A: 2 spaces for main house with 4 bedrooms or less. 3 spaces if main house has 5 bedrooms.

Q: How many more new spaces are required for the property? Sizes? Do they need to be covered? What configuration or access must they have? Do they require a border around them?

A: 1 new space for ADU,

Q: Is there a turning radius or other parking rule to test?

A: N/A

Enter any additional notes.

If adding a new second dwelling unit (with kitchen), there are additional cost involved: new gas and electric meters, new water meter and sewer connection. These additional fees for these items can be between $30K to $40k. For a new detached dwelling unit, the fire dept. will mostly likely require an automatic fire sprinkler system. This could be another +/-$25K. Based on your immediate need needs, it is best to build the space without a kitchen unless you are prepared for the added costs. Please call me and we cam discuss in more detail.

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