What you can build

Chula Vista ADU Regulations & Zoning


Size and Separation

Maximum size 1200 square feet

Side/rear setbacks 4 feet

Two story Yes

Building separation 6 feet

Additional Requirements

Soils Report Yes

Building Verification Survey No

Coastal permit (in some areas) Yes

Stormwater Mitigation No

Number of ADUs Allowed

How many ADUs can you build in Chula Vista?

On Chula Vista single-family residential lots, you may build one ADU (either attached or detached) and one Junior ADU (JADUs have an owner occupancy requirement and must be converted from existing space within the primary residence).

How many ADUs does Chula Vista allow for multifamily properties?

Chula Vista allows up to 2 detached ADUs for multifamily lots with an existing multi-family building. (Meaning: In order to build 2 ADUs, the property must already have at least a duplex on it, not just a single family dwelling)

Additionally, a minimum of one accessory dwelling unit, or up to 25 percent of the existing multifamily units, is permitted within an existing multifamily dwelling, as a result of the conversion of non-habitable space including, but not limited to, storage rooms, boiler rooms, passageways, attics, basements, or garages.

ADU Size & Building Constraints

What size detached ADU can you build in Chula Vista?

Chula Vista allows for a detached ADU up to 1200 sqft. ADUs up to 800 square feet are exempt from lot coverage requirements. (Meaning: You can build an ADU of this size even if you’re maxed out on lot coverages).

What is the height requirement for an ADU in Chula Vista? Can you build a 2-story ADU in Chula Vista?

The height of a detached ADU may be the same as the height limit for the primary residence in accordance with the underlying zone. So a two-story ADU may be built so long as it does not exceed the height limit for that zone. The ADU shall also be no greater than two stories.

How big can an attached ADU be in Chula Vista?

The total floor area for an attached accessory dwelling unit shall not exceed 50 percent of the total floor area of the proposed or existing primary residence, or 850 square feet for a one-bedroom unit and 1,000 square feet for a unit with more than one bedroom, whichever is greater.

What are the requirements of the exterior of the ADU?

Dwelling units on the lot should be complementary or compatible in appearance with each other by incorporating matching architectural design, building materials, and colors of the primary residence with the accessory dwelling unit, and any other accessory structure built concurrently with the accessory dwelling unit. However, the primary residence may be modified to match the new accessory dwelling unit.


What is the setback requirement for an ADU in Chula Vista?

A new attached or detached accessory dwelling unit is allowed a setback of no less than four feet from the side and rear lot lines. In addition, an encroachment into the front yard setback is also allowed only if it is necessary to construct a minimum 800-square-foot unit.

What is the minimum distance the ADU must be from existing structures?

The minimum required distance between structures is 6′ wall to wall.

Additional Requirements

Does Chula Vista require in-person submission of plans for an ADU?

Yes, Chula Vista requires in-person submission of plans, which means slightly higher processing and printing costs.

Does Chula Vista require a soils report for an ADU?

Yes, Chula Vista requires a soils report for all ADUs.

Does Chula Vista require coastal development permits?

Yes, accessory dwelling units developed within the coastal zone may be subject to requirements of the Local Coastal Program (LCP), which for Chula Vista would be the Bayfront Local Coastal Program.


How many ADUs does Chula Vista allow for multifamily properties?

Up to two detached accessory dwelling units shall be permitted on a lot with an existing multifamily dwelling in Chula Vista.

Can you stack detached ADUs on top of each other?

Yes, you may stack two ADUs so long as the height no more than that of the primary residence and in accordance with the underlying zone.

Can you attach two ADUs to each other?

It is currently undetermined if two detached ADUs can be attached to each other side by side; this will be subject to city interpretation.

Can you convert existing space to an ADU?

Yes, existing non-livable space may be converted to ADUs (e.g. storage areas and garages). The minimum number of ADU conversions allowed is one, up to a maximum equal to 25% of the number of existing multifamily units. This is in addition to the allowed number of detached ADUs.


What is the parking requirement for an ADU in Chula Vista?

A parking space is not required for an ADU in any of the following instances:

  • Within a one-half mile walking distance from public transit, which includes bus stops.
  • Within an established historic district.
  • Converted from the existing space of a primary residence or accessory structure, or are attached to an existing or proposed primary residence.
  • The accessory dwelling unit is in an area where on-street parking permits are required, but not offered to the occupant of the accessory dwelling unit.
  • The accessory dwelling unit is located within one block of a car share area.
Where can a parking space be located?

If a parking space is required, it may be located within the setbacks and in an existing driveway as tandem parking. Parking spaces don’t need to be replaced when a garage, carport, or covered parking structure is demolished in conjunction with the construction of an ADU or converted to an ADU.

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