Second Dwelling - Granny Cottage

Often a homeowner will want to have housing for an extended family member, a care-giver, or even just a renter. Some cities allow a second dwelling unit to be built on the property if it meets a number of requirements.

Typical Requirements for a Second Dwelling

  1. Lot must be over 8,000 square feet.
  2. Maximum size is 900 square feet.
  3. Maximum height is 17' (must be single story).
  4. Must be located 12' from the main dwelling.
  5. Must be located within the property setbacks.
  6. Must have two parking spaces, one of them covered.
  7. Must share the driveway with the main dwelling.
  8. The building counts towards the maximum allowed floor space and lot coverage.

The city of Palo Alto currently posts its requirements online at