South Pasadena ADU policy applies to a wholly incorporated city, separate and distinct from Pasadena. It is a popular location for professionals who work along the Metro Gold Line route and people who value a top-rated school system. The rules are surprisingly progressive!
The policy document can be read HERE: South Pasadena Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance and here is an infographic version. Both are signed May 2021. ADU policy changes, sometimes rapidly, so make sure you check for updates in your individual area.
South Pasadena ADU Policy Highlights
ADU Size and Height Limitations in South Pasadena
Detached ADU can be up to 1200 square feet with more than one bedroom. The height limit is 22 feet, inclusive of the roof pitch, enough for a two-story structure. A one story ADU should be no more than 16 ft. according to this document, but SB 897 passed in September 28, 2022, amends the mandatory height limit to 18 ft if the site is within a half mile of a mass transportation stop or the main structure is two stories.
South Pasadena allows homeowners to build an ADU over the existing garage.
If it is less than 750 SF, it is exempt from impact fees.
Setback Rules for South Pasadena ADUs
South Pasadena is the first city I’ve studied that expressly allows an ADU to be built in the front yard IF the main house is built to the back of the lot. There are many rules around this, but you can boil them all down to “the ADU needs to look like it belongs in the neighborhood”.
Setback rules follow state-mandated rules- 4 feet from the back and sides and 10 feet from the main home (if it is 800 sf. or larger).
Another unusually generous South Pasadena ADU policy is that an existing garage is only 4 feet from the side lot line (instead of the normal 4 ft.), it can be extended 10 feet along the boundary wall with the same setback.
Junior ADUs in South Pasadena
JADUs are allowed. The homeowner must live on the property. A dedicated bathroom is not required.
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Parking Requirements for South Pasadena
The rules for ADU parking follows state mandate. No replacement or additional off-street parking is required if a public transportation stop is within 1/2 mile of walking distance or in a historic district.
Two Story ADUs in South Pasadena
Two-story ADUs are allowed in South Pasadena.
ADUs for Historic Neighborhoods in South Pasadena
There are restrictions for ADUs built in historic homes or historic districts. The ADU needs to be 50% hidden from the street, and it shouldn’t compete with the character-defining features of the home.
South Pasadena ADUs as Short-Term Rentals
An ADU must rent for a minimum of 30 days. No short term rentals are allowed.
Multi-Family Residence (MFR) ADU Rules in South Pasadena
Converting existing floor space within the MFR structure: either add 1 ADU unit OR 25% of existing MFR units, whichever is greater.
New Detached ADU: Maximum of 2 detached ADUs.
All sizes, set backs, and height rules follow the same rules as for single family properties.
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