What you can build

Escondido ADU Regulations & Zoning


Size and Separation

Maximum size 1,000 square feet

Side/rear setbacks 4 feet

Two story Yes

Building separation 10 feet

Additional Requirements

Soils Report No

Building Verification Survey No

Coastal permit (in some areas) No

Stormwater Mitigation No

Number of ADUs Allowed

How many ADUs can you build in Escondido?

On Escondido 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 Escondido allow for multifamily properties?

Escondido 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)

Non‐livable space within existing multi‐family structures may be converted into an ADU. Examples of areas that can be converted include storage rooms and garage spaces. The maximum number of ADU allowed in a multi‐family structure is equal to 25% of the number of existing multi‐family units in the structure. Fractional units are rounded down. A minimum of one conversion ADU is allowed.

ADU Size & Building Constraints

What size detached ADU can you build in Escondido?

Escondido allows for a detached ADU up to 850 sqft for units with 1 bedroom, and up to 1000 sqft for 2+ bedrooms. 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 Escondido? Can you build a 2-story ADU in Escondido?

Yes, a two story unit is possible if it conforms to the height limit for the zone.

Additionally, an ADU may be built to the following:

  • a height of 16-feet regardless of applicable height limits;
  • a height of 18-feet if within ½ mile of transit;
  • if attached to the primary dwelling unit, an ADU may go up to a height of 25-feet.

Read more about two story ADUs and height limits.

How big can an attached ADU be in Escondido?

The square footage of any attached ADU may not to exceed 50% of the primary dwelling square footage, or 1,200 sqft, whichever is less, but not less than 800 square feet.

What are the requirements of the exterior of the ADU?

The accessory dwelling unit’s color and materials must match those of the primary residence, with respect to roof design, height, compatible materials, color, texture, and design details. If the accessory dwelling unit is an addition to a site with known historic resources or has been determined to have historic value by the director, all improvements shall retain the historical and/or architectural value and significance of the landmark, historical building, or historical district as specified by section 33-1475. The improvements shall be compatible with and retain the texture and material of the primary building(s) and/or structure(s) or its appurtenant fixtures, including signs, fences, parking, site plan, landscaping and the relationship of such features to similar features of other buildings within an historical district.


What is the setback requirement for an ADU in Escondido?

ADUs must have 4′ minimum setbacks from rear and side-yard property lines, with front yard setback per zoning standards. When above a garage, the ADU must have 5′ side and rear setbacks.

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

The minimum required distance between structures is 10′, unless both structues single story, then MAY be reduced to 5′

Additional Requirements

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

Yes, Escondido requires in-person submission of plans and does not accept digital applications at this time.

Does Escondido require a soils report for an ADU?

No, Escondido does not mandate soils reports for ADUs.

Does Escondido require coastal development permits?

No areas are subject to Coastal requirements.

Can you build an ADU on a lot that includes a historic building, or a property under the Mills Act?

Yes, you can build an ADU on a lot that includes a historic building or a property under the Mills Act. However, the ADU must conform to the specific requirements of the historic structure or Mills Act guidelines. If the property is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, California Register of Historic Places, or the local historic inventory, the ADU should also comply with any approved historic preservation plans. If mandatory design standards for historically classified structures are established by the city council, the ADU must conform to these standards.

At SnapADU, we understand the complexities involved in building an ADU on a lot with historic significance or under the Mills Act. In our Feasibility stage, our expert team would conduct a thorough assessment of the specific requirements and standards that need to be adhered to for your unique property. This careful evaluation allows us to refine the design, scope, and budget to best suit your needs and ensure all guidelines can likely be met before you decide to proceed with full plans.


How many ADUs does Escondido allow for multifamily properties?

Up to two detached ADUs on legal lots with existing multifamily dwellings, and must be detached from that multifamily dwelling.

Note that in Escondido, the composition of the existing structure(s) is what will determine if you can build two ADUs. You could build two ADUs if you have an existing duplex, even in a single family residential zone. However, simply being zoned as multifamily with a single family home will not allow two ADUs.

Can you stack detached ADUs on top of each other?

Code does not specify, and this has yet to be tested with the city.

Can you attach two ADUs to each other in Escondido?

It is currently undetermined if two detached ADUs can be attached to each other; 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 Escondido?

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

  • Within an established historic district.
  • 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.
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.