Chapter 23.80


23.80.010    Purpose and intent.

23.80.020    Definition.

23.80.030    Location.

23.80.040    Permitting procedures.

23.80.050    Submittal requirements and application processing.

23.80.060    Development standards.

23.80.070    Occupancy and ownership.

23.80.080    Fees and charges.

23.80.010 Purpose and intent.

The city recognizes the importance of a suitable living environment for all residents. The State Legislature has declared that “accessory dwelling units” (ADUs) are a valuable form of housing in California. It is the intent of the city to permit accessory dwelling units, in conformance with state law, subject to standards that will ensure the units contribute to a suitable living environment for all residents. [Ord. 17-013 § 2, 2017; Ord. 03-08 § 8, 2003].

23.80.020 Definition.

“Accessory dwelling unit” means an attached or a detached residential dwelling unit which provides complete independent living facilities for one or more persons. It shall include permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation on the same parcel as the single-family dwelling is situated. An accessory dwelling unit also includes the following:

(a) An efficiency unit, as defined in Section 17958.1 of the Health and Safety Code.

(b) A manufactured home, as defined in Section 18007 of the Health and Safety Code. [Ord. 17-013 § 2, 2017; Ord. 03-08 § 8, 2003].

23.80.030 Location.

(a) One accessory dwelling unit whether contained within the existing space of an existing primary residence or accessory structure or attached or added on to a primary residence or a detached unit may be located on a lot zoned for single-family residential use as an allowed use, which contains or is being developed for only a legal single-family detached dwelling with the following exceptions:

(1) Areas as listed below are exempt from the development of accessory dwelling units that are attached or added on to a primary residence or are detached:

(A) R-1-B-4 zoning district, pursuant to the local coastal program land use plan;

(B) R3-PGB zoning district including the portion of the Pacific Grove Beach Tract bounded by Lorelei Street on the east, Ocean View Boulevard on the north, Sea Palm Avenue on the west, and the southerly property line of property on the south side of Mermaid Avenue to the south due to the dense nature of existing development on small lots.

(2) Monarch Pines Mobile Home Park (M-H zoning district) is exempt from development of all accessory dwelling units pursuant to senior citizen owner occupancy requirements of the Monarch Pines Mobile Home Park community.

(b) Accessory dwelling units that conform to this chapter are not considered to exceed the allowable density for the lot upon which the unit is located and shall be deemed to be consistent with the existing general plan and zoning designation for the lot. A detached accessory dwelling unit is not considered an accessory building. [Ord. 17-013 § 2, 2017; Ord. 03-08 § 8, 2003].

23.80.040 Permitting procedures.

(a) Any application in any single-family residential zone to create one accessory dwelling unit, per single-family lot, that is contained within the existing space of a primary residence or accessory structure, has independent exterior access from the existing residence and has side and rear setbacks sufficient for fire safety shall be approved ministerially, including in nonconforming structures or on nonconforming lots, subject to the building permit requirements.

(b) Any application for an accessory dwelling unit that meets all the location and development standards contained in this chapter shall be approved ministerially without discretionary review or public hearing. [Ord. 17-013 § 2, 2017; Ord. 04-03 § 4, 2004; Ord. 03-08 § 8, 2003].

23.80.050 Submittal requirements and application processing.

(a) Step One – Submittal. The application package for an accessory dwelling unit permit to the community and economic development department shall include:

(1) Site Plan (Drawn to Scale). Dimension the perimeter of parcel on which the accessory dwelling unit will be located. Indicate the location and dimensioned setbacks of all existing and proposed structures on the project site. Include all easements, building envelopes, trees, and features in the adjacent public right-of-way.

(2) Floor Plans. Each room shall be dimensioned and the resulting floor area calculation included. The use of each room shall be identified. The size and location of all windows and doors shall be clearly depicted.

(3) Elevations. North, south, east and west elevations which show all openings, exterior materials and finishes, original and finish grades, and roof pitch for the existing residence and the proposed accessory dwelling unit.

(4) Cross Section. Provide building cross sections including, but not limited to: structural wall elements, roof, foundation, fireplace and any other sections necessary to illustrate earth-to-wood clearances and floor-to-ceiling heights.

(5) Color Photographs of the Site and Adjacent Properties. The photos shall be taken from each of the property lines of the project site to show the project site and adjacent sites. Label each photograph and reference to a separate site plan indicating the location and direction of the photograph.

(6) Water. A completed Monterey Peninsula Water Management District residential water release form and water permit application, showing the existing and proposed fixture units. If sufficient fixture units are not available on the site to serve the accessory dwelling unit, the applicant shall request the project be placed on the Pacific Grove water waiting list.

(7) Fee. A permit application fee in the amount established from time to time by resolution of the city council.

(b) Step Two – Issuance.

(1) If the application conforms to the provisions of PGMC 23.80.040(a) a nonappealable ministerial permit for accessory dwelling units within an existing residence or accessory structure shall be issued, subject to the building permit requirements.

(2) If the application conforms to the specific standards contained in PGMC 23.80.060, the community development director shall issue an accessory dwelling unit permit ministerially without discretionary review.

The decision of the community development director is final and is not subject to appeal. [Ord. 17-013 § 2, 2017; Ord. 03-08 § 8, 2003].

23.80.060 Development standards.

An accessory dwelling unit permit will be issued only if it complies with all the following development standards:

(a) Table 1.


Accessory Dwelling Unit


Within Existing Residence or Accessory Structure

Attached to the Primary Residence


Existing Development

Single-family dwelling or accessory structure must exist on the site

Single-family dwelling must exist on the site or be constructed on the site in conjunction with the construction of the accessory dwelling unit

Number per Lot




Minimum Lot Size

No limitation

4,000 sf

4,000 sf

Maximum Unit Size

No limitation

No more than 50 percent of the existing living area to a maximum of 800 sf

800 sf

Minimum Setback1, 2






As required by the applicable zoning district


Sufficient for fire access


Sufficient for fire access

Separation between Buildings

Not applicable

5 feet from detached structures on the same site

5 feet from other structures on the same site

Maximum Height

Existing residence or accessory structure (including nonconforming structures)

Height limit applicable to the zoning district

15 feet3


Independent exterior entrance to the unit required

Independent exterior entrance to the unit required. Both entrances may not be located on the building elevation fronting the street

Lot Coverage and Floor Area4


Included in lot coverage and floor area applicable to the site

Off-Street Parking5

None required

1. No setback is required for an existing garage conversion to accessory dwelling unit.

2. Five feet side and rear setback is required for an accessory dwelling unit constructed above a garage.

3. Twenty-five feet if unit is located above a detached garage.

4. Floor area is measured to the outside surface of exterior walls, with no exceptions.

5. When a garage, carport or covered parking is eliminated in conjunction with the construction of an accessory dwelling unit, replacement spaces in accordance with the requirements of the applicable zoning district shall be provided. These spaces may be uncovered and located in any configuration on the same lot.

(b) Architectural Compatibility.

(1) Where the development of an accessory dwelling unit includes exterior alterations, additions, or construction of new structure, the accessory dwelling unit shall incorporate the same or similar architectural features, building materials, including window style and materials, and roof slopes as the main dwelling unit or dwellings located on adjacent properties.

(2) Any exterior alteration or addition to a dwelling on the historic resources inventory shall be consistent with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

(c) Permanent Foundation. A permanent foundation shall be required for all accessory dwelling units.

(d) Fire Sprinklers. Fire sprinklers shall be required in an accessory dwelling unit only if they are required in the primary residence on the lot.

(e) Utilities. All utilities for detached units shall be installed underground. Installation of a separate direct connection between the accessory dwelling unit and the utility is not required for an accessory dwelling unit contained within the existing space of the existing primary residence or accessory structure.

(f) Sewer. Prior to issuance of a building permit, the applicant shall submit certification by a licensed plumbing contractor, or his or her designee, that the existing lateral sewer line is of adequate size and condition to support projected sewage flow for the primary and accessory dwelling unit. The certification shall be based on the recommendation of the applicant’s professional representative for both capacity and condition analysis. If the capacity or condition of the existing lateral line is found to be inadequate to serve the existing and proposed units on the property, the lateral line shall be replaced to the main line, to include the connection at the main line, at the expense of the applicant, subject to PGMC 23.80.080. [Ord. 17-013 § 2, 2017; Ord. 14-013 § 2, 2014; Ord. 04-03 § 5, 2004; Ord. 03-08 § 8, 2003].

23.80.070 Occupancy and ownership.

(a) Both the principal place of residence and the accessory dwelling unit may be rented.

(b) The rental shall only be for terms of 30 days or longer.

(c) Neither the primary residence nor the accessory dwelling unit shall be available for short-term vacation rental.

(d) The accessory dwelling unit shall not be sold separately from the primary residence. [Ord. 17-013 § 2, 2017].

23.80.080 Fees and charges.

(a) Accessory dwelling units shall not be considered new residential uses for the purposes of calculating connection fees or capacity charges.

(b) Connection fee or capacity charges may be imposed for accessory dwelling units that are not contained within the existing space of an existing primary residence or accessory structure. The local jurisdiction may require new or separate utility connections for which an agency may institute a connection fee or capacity charge that shall be proportionate to the burden imposed by the accessory dwelling unit based upon its size or number of plumbing fixtures. [Ord. 17-013 § 2, 2017].