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Newport Beach Waives City Permit Fees for Accessory Dwelling Units Through 2022!

By May 19, 2021May 21st, 2021City News, Interesting OC News

The Newport Beach City Council approves a temporary program to waive all City permit fees for  (ADUs) through the end of 2022.

The temporary fee waiver is designed to encourage additional development of new ADUs, and prompt homeowners to seek permits for existing ADUs that are currently unauthorized but meet City codes.

An accessory dwelling unit (ADU), also known as a backyard house, guest house, or casita, is a small home that can be built on the same lot alongside another, larger single-family home, or as a part of a community development. ADUs have their own kitchens, dining areas, bathrooms and entrances. They include attached or stand-alone guest houses, converted garages, and apartments above garages.

ADUs generally contributed about 25% to 34% of each property’s assessed value. Furthermore, adding an ADU demonstrated an average of 51% increase in resale value.


ADUs and their smaller counterparts, Junior ADUs (JADUs), are a key part of the City’s effort to meet state housing mandates that require Newport Beach to plan for the development of 4,845 new housing units over the next eight years. Also, ADUs tend to be small and more affordable, which helps the City meet the state’s lower-income housing goals.

Depending on the type and size of the ADU, City permit fees can range from $1,000 to $5,000.

The fee waiver will apply to: construction of new, detached ADUs on developed lots; construction of new, ADUs and JADUs attached to an existing residence; conversion of an existing space to ADU and JADU; and legalization of existing units that meet building and fire code requirements.  The fee waiver does not apply to ADUs or JADUs that are part of a new development project.  For example a new single family development that incorporates a JADU would not be eligible for the fee waiver.

In addition to allowing ADUs and JADUs on any property that is improved with a residential dwelling unit, the State is mandating several other changes, a summary of which includes:    

  • Location:  Any property improved with a single-unit, multiple-unit, or mixed-use development.
  • Number of Units Allowed: On single-unit developed properties, one ADU and one JADU. On multiple-unit and mixed-use developed properties, up to 25 percent of the existing units (minimum one allowed)
  • Minimum Lot Size: No minimum lot size.
  • Maximum Unit Size: ADU = 850 square feet for studios and one- bedroom units and 1,000 square feet for two-bedroom units; JADU = 500 square feet.
  •  Setbacks: For conversion and replacement of existing structures, no additional setback is required, beyond what is currently provided. Front setbacks are per the zoning code requirement for the base zone. Side and rear setbacks are per the zoning code requirement for the base zone or four feet, whichever is less.
  • Height: For attached units or units above garages, the height is per the zoning code requirement for the base zone. For detached units, the maximum height is 16 feet.
  • Parking: For JADU, no parking is required. For ADU, one space per unit, unless the ADU is located within one-half (1/2) mile walking distance of public transit, or located within one (1) block of a designated car share pick up and drop off location; located within an architecturally and historically significant historic district; proposed to be converted from the existing space entirely within the primary dwelling unit or an existing accessory structure; or located in a permit parking area where on-street parking permits are required, but not offered to the occupant(s) of the accessory dwelling unit.
  • Garage Conversions: If garage, carport, or covered parking is replaced/converted to ADU, no replacement parking is required. (However, due to a potential inconsistency with the Coastal Act related to public access, replacement parking for properties within the coastal zone is required to minimize impacts to public access.)
  • Owner-Occupancy Requirement: For ADU, the property owner shall live in either the primary residence or the ADU. For JADU, the property owner shall live in the primary residence. However, this rule is suspended for ADUs created between 1/1/2020 and 1/1/2025, during which time no owner-occupancy requirements are required.

Property owners are invited to call the City’s Community Development Department at 949-644-3200 with questions, or for more information.