ADU Alliance

Unlock Your Space: Navigate 2023 ADU Laws in Santee, CA

Located in San Diego County, the city of Santee has its municipal zoning code, with ADU laws in Santee regulating the development of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and junior ADUs. Recent updates in ADU laws in Santee bring ADU ordinances more in line with California legislation that aims to make it easier for homeowners to create additional housing units.

adu laws in santee ca

This guide examines Santee’s specific zoning, permit rules, and process for constructing detached and attached ADUs as well as junior ADUs on lots with existing single-family homes.

Key Takeaways:

  • Allowance for one ADU plus a junior ADU on single-family residential lots
  • JADUs created within the home do not count toward floor area ratio (FAR)
  • Reduced ADU setback requirements to ease site constraints
  • 800 sq ft ADUs are exempt from FAR, lot coverage, and other restrictions
  • No owner-occupancy mandate and reduced parking requirements
  • Separate entrance, kitchen, and bath facilities required
  • Approval process is faster than conventional home additions

The city updated its ADU zoning code in August 2023. The new rules conform better to the California Government Code, shaping local ADU and JADU policies.

Santee Development Standards for ADUs

Santee allows for detached or attached ADUs as well as “junior” ADUs integrated into existing single-family homes. The city’s zoning code has specific standards based on the type and size of an ADU, which dictate setbacks, height limits, lot coverage, and parking requirements.

Setbacks for ADUs

Type of ADU Permitted Setbacks
≤ 800 sq ft detached/attached 4-ft side/rear setbacks
> 800 sq ft detached/attached 4-ft side/rear setbacks
Any ADU Same as primary home for front setback

This allows smaller 4-ft setbacks compared to conventional accessory structures to make ADU projects more feasible.

adu laws in santee development standards

Height and Lot Coverage

ADU Size Height Limit Lot Coverage
≤ 800 sq ft detached 16 ft <br>(18 ft if near major transit) No limit
> 800 sq ft detached 16 ft <br>(18 ft if near major transit) Underlying residential zone standard applies
All attached Same as primary dwelling zone

Up to 800 sq ft of detached ADUs get a height allowance similar to California’s state standards as well as exemption from lot coverage restrictions that often pose barriers.

Larger ADUs must comply with existing zoning provisions for maximum lot building coverage.

Parking Rules

In most neighborhoods, one new uncovered parking space is required when creating an ADU over 800 sq ft. However, this mandate gets waived in certain cases per California law and ADU laws in Santee codes:

  • Within 1/2 mile of public transit
  • ADU converted from existing home or accessory space
  • On-street parking is available

As with other cities, reduced parking requirements make ADUs more feasible because of the ADU laws in Santee. The cost of adding a new garage or carport can be a significant constraint for homeowners.

Permitting an ADU in Santee

The process for getting approval to build an ADU involves these primary steps:

  1. Evaluate lot dimensions, existing development, and zoning to assess ADU options
  2. Design ADU meeting city codes and development standards
  3. Submit plans for completeness check and building permits
  4. Pay planning/building permit fees
  5. Construct ADU within 180 days of permit issuance
  6. Request and pass inspections for certificate of occupancy

ADU laws in Santee review ADU applications through a ministerial approval process. This is faster than a discretionary review, which requires public hearings and decisions governing bodies like the Planning Commission.

adu laws in santee ca permits approval

State law requires ministerial review of compliant ADU applications in 60 days or less. Applicants also benefit from ADU laws in Santee forcing streamlined regulations, which exempt ADUs from:

  • Density standards and allowable lot coverage defined in zoning
  • Public notification or review

This prevents common barriers with home additions and remodeling projects.

Rezoning and variances cannot be required for an ADU to be approved by right either. However, new utility connections may necessitate contacting local water and sewer districts overseeing service to the property.

Junior ADU laws in Santee

Santee allows more compact JADUs to be created within existing single-family homes or attached garages. These interior ADUs must:

  • Contain areas for living, sleeping, cooking and bathing
  • Have a maximum size up to 500 square feet
  • Include a separate exterior entry

Homeowners can convert portions of a house, basement, or attic space to junior ADU meeting requirements. The housing code limits JADUs from fully integrating into the primary dwelling structure, though.

adu laws in santee ca contractors

A major incentive is that JADUs do not count toward the allowed floor area ratio defined in ADU laws in Santee zoning. This allowance can enable adding a fairly spacious interior ADU without exceeding the FAR restrictions that apply to additions.


With San Diego County’s very high housing costs and rents, ADUs, and JADUs create opportunities for homeowners to utilize their properties better while adding small-scale affordable rental units or spaces for family members.

Understanding the details and optimizing designs to comply with ADU laws in Santee for current ADU allowances can make getting these projects approved easier. Reach out to ADU Alliance your preferred local ADU contractor to help navigate through the process with ease as the city’s zoning aims to reduce barriers compared to the past through its updated ordinances.