Chula Vista ADUs: Permits, Regulations, and Requirements
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Chula Vista ADUs: Permits, Regulations, and Requirements

|Oct 29, 2023

Building an ADU in Chula Vista doesn't require you to get a lot of permits; however, to get your application approved, there are a few rules and regulations that you need to incorporate into your ADU design and construction.

In this article, we will discuss all the rules, permits, and requirements you need to fulfill for Chula Vista ADU construction. So read on and find out.

Chula Vista ADU Requirements - Building Zones

The first and most important consideration is the zoning. The area where you are looking to build a Chula Vista ADU must be zoned for single-family or multi-family dwellings. If you want to build an ADU in the coastal area, make sure you have a coastal development permit. You are allowed to build an ADU with the construction of your primary dwelling, required that you are in a residential zone.

Number of ADUs Allowed in Chula Vista

The number of ADUs allowed depends on the type of primary dwelling. If your primary dwelling is built for a single family, then you are only allowed to build a single detached ADU. For multi-family dwellings, you can build 2 ADUs. The ADUs built within the primary dwelling should not get bigger than 25 percent of the house while making sure that only non-habitable places, such as garages, attics, basements, etc., are used for conversion.

Number of ADUs Allowed in Chula Vista

What Size Should Your ADU Be?

The size of the Chula Vista ADU depends on the type of ADU you are going for. An attached ADU can only be as big as 50 percent of the primary dwelling or 850 square feet at max for one bedroom and 1000 square feet for multiple bedrooms. Moreover, the minimum area you can build an ADU on is 800 square feet; anything less than that would not be allowed. The ones choosing to build a detached ADU should keep in mind that the maximum area for a detached ADU is 1200 square feet. If you want to build a junior ADU within the existing structure of the house, the maximum expansion you can do is 150 square feet. Anything beyond that would be subject to new development codes and regulations.

The Location of Your ADU

Your ADU should be located within the premises of the total land area of your house, which should also be at a place zoned for residential purposes. Junior ADUs or conversion, on the other hand, would exist within the primary dwelling.

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The Height Restrictions

The height of your house from the ground should not be more than the height of your primary dwelling. For detached ADUs for single-family dwellings, the maximum height you can go for is 18 feet, requiring that your house is located within half a mile from public transit. You can stretch it to 20 feet as well, but only to match the height of your primary dwelling. In addition, multi-story and multi-family dwellings can be stretched to 18 feet regardless of public transit proximity.

As Chula Vista ADU permits for attached ADUs, you can go up to 25 feet for single or multi-family dwellings. However, keep in mind that your accessory dwelling unit is two stories at maximum.

Setback Requirements

For detached and attached ADUs, you should keep them at a 4 4-foot distance from the primary dwelling. However, you can extend the ADU towards the front yard only if it is necessary to reach the 800 sq. feet minimum requirement. On the other hand, if you are building a junior ADU, you are not required to meet the setback requirements. Conversion ADUs, built by converting existing structures such as garages, living areas, etc., are not subject to setback requirements either.

Setback Requirements

Parking Requirements

A single parking is a must for the prefab ADU. However, the requirement would not apply if the following applies.

  • Your accessory dwelling unit is located less than half a mile from public transit.
  • The dwelling unit is located in the historical district of Chula Vista.
  • The accessory dwelling unit is a part of your primary residence.

Keep in mind that the parking space for an accessory dwelling unit should not be more than one. Off-street parking will be allowed for Chula Vista ADUs in setback areas. In addition, the parking space and accessory dwelling unit should be on the same lot.

Utility Requirements

All the utilities must be provided to the City of Chula Vista ADU. You can set up water and sewer using the same connections that you use for your primary residence. For electricity in detached ADUs, however, you would need a separate electric meter.

Utility Requirements


During the submission of the building permit, the owner of the lot should reside at the place where the accessory dwelling unit is constructed. However, the zoning administrator can suspend the occupancy if the health of the owner requires him or her to stay at a health facility for some time. Some other reasons that can void the occupancy requirement are as follows

  • The owner needs to go outside of San Diego due to a family emergency.
  • The owner has to leave the state for military service or employment.

Application Process Time

The application for an accessory dwelling unit, once approved by the city, would get ministerial approval automatically within 60 days without any hearing if a single or multi-family dwelling exists on the lot. Moreover, if the single-family dwelling doesn't exist but has its application approved, it would also put the ADU application in line to be approved automatically after 60 days without a hearing. In addition, if you decide to demolish an existing structure to convert it into an ADU, make sure you submit the demolition application with the ADU application at the same time.

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