El Cajon ADU Regulations & Zoning

El Cajon, California

Zip Codes: 92020

Our quick take on El Cajon: Moderately ADU-Friendly


SnapADU has permitted or is in the process of permitting numerous projects within the city, and we know the city's regulations and processes very well. El Cajon allows for digital submissions with a clear tracking system. Turnaround times at the city are moderate. El Cajon has not updated their municipal code to match the new state laws, and therefore follows the new state laws wherever applicable.

El Cajon Regulation & Permitting Requirements:

  • ADU SIZE & BUILDING CONSTRAINTS

    What size detached ADU can you build in El Cajon?

    El Cajon 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 El Cajon? Can you build a 2-story ADU in El Cajon?

    The height of a detached ADU can be up to 20′.

    Does El Cajon allow roof decks on ADUs?

    No, roof decks are not permitted on detached ADUs in El Cajon.

    How big can an attached ADU be in El Cajon?

    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 exterior roofing, trim, walls, windows and the color palette of the ADU shall incorporate the same features as the primary dwelling unit.

    For units over 800 sqft, El Cajon has a design requirement of “wall plan articulation” for lengths of wall beyond 30′. In other words, there must be a “jog” of at least 18″ deep in the wall and continue for at least 4′.

  • SETBACKS

    What is the setback requirement for an ADU in El Cajon?

    ADUs must have 4′ minimum setbacks from rear and side-yard property lines, with front yard setback per zoning standards. An ADU taking advantage of the 4′ setbacks cannot exceed a height of 16 feet.

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

    The minimum required distance between structures is 6′.

  • ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS

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

    No, El Cajon allows digital submission of applications for an ADU.

    Does El Cajon require a sewer line video?

    Yes, El Cajon is the only municipality we are currently aware of that requires a sewer lateral video. This video is something SnapADU handles during the Feasibility portion of the project, though sometimes a higher-definition video inspection may also be required.

    Per the City of El Cajon Public Works Wastewater Administration Department as of June 2022:

    “Property owners are responsible for their entire private lateral (upper and lower within the right-of-way/easement) from the building up to and including the connection with the City sewer main, since the private sewer main is the exclusive use of a single party and not a part of the municipal system.

    Any dig/replace work within the ROW/easement would require a separate encroachment permit (EP) and traffic control, as needed. If a lower lateral can be repaired with a cured-in-place liner without active work, vehicles, obstructions, etc. in the ROW an EP would not (likely) be required.”

    Does El Cajon require a soils report for an ADU?

    No, El Cajon does not mandate soils reports for ADUs.

    Does El Cajon require coastal development permits?

    No areas are subject to Coastal requirements.

  • MULTIFAMILY

    How many ADUs does El Cajon allow for multifamily properties?

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

    Can you stack detached ADUs on top of each other?

    Yes, you may be able to stack ADUs if total height is still under 20′ height maximum.

    Can you attach two ADUs to each other in El Cajon?

    Attaching ADUs may be allowed if the overall building footprint does not exceed 1,200 sqft (subject to review).

    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.

  • PARKING

    What is the parking requirement for an ADU in El Cajon?

    A parking space is not required for an ADU in any of the following instances:
    o Within a one-half mile walking distance from public transit, which includes bus stops.
    o Within an established historic district.
    o 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.

  • RENT RATES

    How much will an ADU rent for in El Cajon?

    Below are median rental prices by zip code and bedroom count. Be sure to run comps for your specific area or check with a realtor.

    RENT RATES IN EL CAJON
    Zip Neighborhood 1BR 2BR 3BR
    92020 Grossmont $1645 $2040 $2765

    Source: Rentometer Nov 2021

El Cajon ADU Projects:

$235,000

Design
Katherine Street
El Cajon, California 92020
2 Bed • 2 Bath • 749 ft2

$235

Design
Rippey Street
El Cajon, California 92020
2 Bed • 2 Bath • 750 ft2

El Cajon Regulation & Permitting Requirements:

  • ADU SIZE & BUILDING CONSTRAINTS

    What size detached ADU can you build in El Cajon?

    El Cajon 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 El Cajon? Can you build a 2-story ADU in El Cajon?

    The height of a detached ADU can be up to 20′.

    Does El Cajon allow roof decks on ADUs?

    No, roof decks are not permitted on detached ADUs in El Cajon.

    How big can an attached ADU be in El Cajon?

    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 exterior roofing, trim, walls, windows and the color palette of the ADU shall incorporate the same features as the primary dwelling unit.

    For units over 800 sqft, El Cajon has a design requirement of “wall plan articulation” for lengths of wall beyond 30′. In other words, there must be a “jog” of at least 18″ deep in the wall and continue for at least 4′.

  • SETBACKS

    What is the setback requirement for an ADU in El Cajon?

    ADUs must have 4′ minimum setbacks from rear and side-yard property lines, with front yard setback per zoning standards. An ADU taking advantage of the 4′ setbacks cannot exceed a height of 16 feet.

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

    The minimum required distance between structures is 6′.

  • ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS

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

    No, El Cajon allows digital submission of applications for an ADU.

    Does El Cajon require a sewer line video?

    Yes, El Cajon is the only municipality we are currently aware of that requires a sewer lateral video. This video is something SnapADU handles during the Feasibility portion of the project, though sometimes a higher-definition video inspection may also be required.

    Per the City of El Cajon Public Works Wastewater Administration Department as of June 2022:

    “Property owners are responsible for their entire private lateral (upper and lower within the right-of-way/easement) from the building up to and including the connection with the City sewer main, since the private sewer main is the exclusive use of a single party and not a part of the municipal system.

    Any dig/replace work within the ROW/easement would require a separate encroachment permit (EP) and traffic control, as needed. If a lower lateral can be repaired with a cured-in-place liner without active work, vehicles, obstructions, etc. in the ROW an EP would not (likely) be required.”

    Does El Cajon require a soils report for an ADU?

    No, El Cajon does not mandate soils reports for ADUs.

    Does El Cajon require coastal development permits?

    No areas are subject to Coastal requirements.

  • MULTIFAMILY

    How many ADUs does El Cajon allow for multifamily properties?

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

    Can you stack detached ADUs on top of each other?

    Yes, you may be able to stack ADUs if total height is still under 20′ height maximum.

    Can you attach two ADUs to each other in El Cajon?

    Attaching ADUs may be allowed if the overall building footprint does not exceed 1,200 sqft (subject to review).

    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.

  • PARKING

    What is the parking requirement for an ADU in El Cajon?

    A parking space is not required for an ADU in any of the following instances:
    o Within a one-half mile walking distance from public transit, which includes bus stops.
    o Within an established historic district.
    o 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.

  • RENT RATES

    How much will an ADU rent for in El Cajon?

    Below are median rental prices by zip code and bedroom count. Be sure to run comps for your specific area or check with a realtor.

    RENT RATES IN EL CAJON
    Zip Neighborhood 1BR 2BR 3BR
    92020 Grossmont $1645 $2040 $2765

    Source: Rentometer Nov 2021

El Cajon ADU Projects:

$235,000

Design
Katherine Street
El Cajon, California 92020
2 Bed • 2 Bath • 749 ft2

$235

Design
Rippey Street
El Cajon, California 92020
2 Bed • 2 Bath • 750 ft2