Accessory Dwelling Units
Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) Procedures
ADU – Accessory Dwelling Unit: also known as an in-law unit, second unit, or cottage, is an additional residential dwelling unit on a single-family or multi-family residentially zoned property. An ADU can be an attached or detached dwelling unit, providing independent living facilities for one or more persons that has a full, separate kitchen, separate bathroom and separate entrance.
JADU – Junior ADU, a type of accessory dwelling unit that is no more than 500 square feet in size and contained entirely within a single-family residence and that has its own cooking facilities and separate entrance. Only one JADU can exist on a residential lot, and the property owner must live in the JADU or the remaining structure of the single-family residence.
Connection Fee – A one-time fee for the use, or additional use, of the public sewer that helps cover the capital costs of the public sewer system. See Sewer Connections and Permits for more details and costs.
The development of ADUs is governed by Government Code section 65852.2, and the development of JADUs is governed by Government Code section 65852.22. While the City of Novato or Marin County administer most of the development process and should be consulted separately, in most cases, the District requires a permit and the payment of a Connection Fee for new development that will be connected to the public sewer, including ADUs. Sections 65852.2 and 65852.22 govern whether and how much the District can charge for a Connection Fee for ADUs.
More specifically, Section 65852.2, subdivision (f)(4) prohibits the District from imposing “capacity charges” and “connection fees” (as these two terms are defined in Government Code Section 66013) for ADUs that meet the following criteria:
(i) The ADU is within the existing space of a single family dwelling or accessory structure except for no more than 150 additional square feet for the purpose of accommodating ingress or egress. If the ADU will be built with a new single-family dwelling, the ADU is within the proposed single-family dwelling.
(ii) The ADU has its own separate entrance.
(iii) The ADU has sufficient side and rear setbacks for fire and safety.
This list of criteria is found in Section 65852.2, subdivision (e)(1)(A). The District is also prohibited from imposing “capacity charges” and “connection fees” if the unit is a JADU that complies with the requirements of Section 65852.22.
Novato Sanitary District Procedures – For JADUs/ADUs where No Connection Fees will be Required (Also see Note 1. below)
Where the local land use agency (City of Novato or Marin County) ministerially approves an application for an ADU that meets the criteria in Section 65852.2, subdivision (e)(1)(A), the District will not require a new or separate connection and will not impose a Connection Fee. Because the local land use agency will confirm various requirements such as separate entrances and cooking facilities, the District focuses on whether the ADU is one of the following:
- An ADU within the existing space of a single-family dwelling.
- An ADU within the existing space of an accessory structure (which may include an expansion of not more than 150 square feet beyond the same physical dimensions as the existing accessory structure, provided that the expansion shall be limited to accommodating ingress and egress).
- An ADU within the proposed space of a new single-family dwelling.
These three types of ADUs, which may include a JADU, will not be subject to a Connection Fee.
Novato Sanitary District Procedures – For ADUs where Connection Fees will be Required (Also see Note 1. below)
ADUs that do not meet the criteria of Section 65852.2, subdivision (e)(1)(A) may be required to construct a separate connection and will be charged a Connection Fee, as authorized by Section 65852.2, subdivision (f)(5). This includes:
- Manufactured ADUs that are delivered to a property and,
- ADUs within new structures.
The Connection Fee is calculated based on the square footage proportional to the maximum size allowable for an ADU, which is 1,200 square feet. Any structure greater than 1,200 square feet is considered a Single Family Unit (SFU) (or interchangeably, single family Equivalent Dwelling unit or EDU) and will be subject to the full Connection Fee, which is set by the District Board of Directors and updated each year. The Connection Fee for ADUs smaller than 1,200 square feet will be the proportion of the ADU size to 1,200 square feet applied against the amount of the full Connection Fee for 1 SFU. For example, the Connection Fee for a proposed 600 square foot ADU would be calculated at 600/1200 or 0.5 SFU. These requirements are addressed in District Policy No. 3513 Connection Fees for Residential Accessory Dwelling Units.
Note 1: Please note, all ADUs/JADUs require the submission of an application to the District and the payment of administrative, permit, and inspection fees. With the exception of JADUs, all completed ADUs will be charged an annual sewer service charge.