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Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

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On January 1, 2020, the new State of California laws on approval of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs) went into effect statewide.  Subsequently, the City has exercised its right to add to the State requirements for local control of ADUs within the City of Palos Verdes Estates.  On April 14, 2020, City Council adopted Urgency Ordinance Number O20-744U to regulate ADUs (includes JADUs) while Council reviews iterations of a permanent ordinance for the city.  This Urgency Ordinance was extended and will be in effect either until a permanent ordinance goes into effect, or April 13, 2021, whichever occurs first.

In order to get your ADU or JADU approved, follow these 5 simple steps!

STEP 1:  Submit a building permit for an ADU to Permitting (Donna Shellabarger / 

STEP 2:  Once plans & building permit fees are received, Planning will review the plans first, per the below flow chart:


What does Planning review entail?

Planning staff will review the submitted plans to ensure all pertinent information is present.  You may receive “corrections” from Planning staff asking for you to resubmit corrected plans with missing items shown.  Whited-out plans are not accepted.  The “corrections” may also list deficiencies of your plan that may call for slight redesign in order to gain approval.  The requirements for approval of an ADU are detailed within the adopted urgency ordinance here:


STEP 3:  As seen in the chart, you will be notified of 1 of 3 different results from initial Planning review.

Result A:  It qualifies as “Building Permit Only” and will require no further review by Planning.

Result B:  It requires both a Building Permit & ADU Permit.  Once you submit the new ADU Permit application and fee (available here), Planning will review the plans for conformity with the requirements of an ADU Permit. 

Result C:  It requires a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) prior to Building permit issuance.  Once you submit a CUP application and fee (available here), Planning staff will carry your project through the established steps for review and approval by Planning Commission.  Details are included at the link provided.  Once Planning Commission approves the CUP, there is a 15-day window during which Planning Commission’s decision may be appealed by the applicant or neighbors.


STEP 4:  Once it is determined that your project meets the requirements of the ordinance, the very last step is to fill out the “ADU Final Approval Form” (available here).  Once Staff receives that form completed (emailed PDF is preferred), Planning has officially approved your ADU. 

STEP 5:  Upon Planning approval of the ADU, the Building permit will then be sent to the Building & Public Works departments.


All applications, fee amounts, & Planning Commission deadlines are detailed here: