The San Diego City Council last month approved new regulations aimed at making it cheaper and easier to build granny flats in the city.
Granny flats – often called accessory dwelling units and companion units – are second, small homes or apartments built on the same lot as existing single-family homes. The city was forced to update its rules regulating granny flats to meet the requirements of a new state law that took effect in January.
I asked a handful of San Diego architects and housing advocates to weigh in on the city’s changes, which met and, in some places, exceeded the state requirements. Most said that while the new laws are a good first step, city leaders should go even further in helping make granny flats an easy and affordable option.
The overall goal of the state law and the new city regulations is to help put a dent in California’s housing crisis. But while most agree that looser granny flat rules will result in people building more of them, not many folks are convinced that the city’s regulation changes will result in bringing the thousands of new, more affordable units San Diego needs.
Add your thoughts by leaving a comment or emailing me. The responses have been lightly edited for style and clarity.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
The government proclaims, let's use companion units to make housing more affordable. Then turn around and charge $28,300 in fees. What a joke.
Think about it, that is 1,347 hours of work, excluding taxes, for someone making double the minimum wage. At 21$ an hour, working 40 hour weeks that is 33 weeks of labor, just to get permission to put something in your own back yard. 8 months of work...
What is the actual time/labor costs involved in the service that is being provided?
On a side note, If someone can build this type of unit in their backyard, why not make it legal for all individuals to be able to build one of these as a single family primary residence? It seems to disproportionately favors preexisting homeowners.
If I suddenly was authorized to build a granny flat on my single family zoned property, I'd likely put it on AirBnB. Result: More tourists, no relief for needed permanent housing.
@Bill Bradshaw a myopic view. Why is it the granny flats that have to be affordable when a young family can't afford a single-family house in this city? Having an AirBnB'able unit on a property is a good way to make an $800,000 house affordable for a couple in their 30's...
Granny flats are not needed, at least not in my neighborhood, as many people rent out 3-4 bedroom houses to 5 or 6 unrelated adults.
Let's be realistic. There will not be many people that take advantage of the new regs., and those that do will be unlikely to charge affordable rents on the new units. The best way to attack the housing shortage is for the council to encourage and approve the development of multifamily projects and up-zoning in appropriate areas. Unfortunately, the council has a history of buckling to neighborhood activists that want to keep that low density suburban feel.
@bgetzel It feels misleading. While this could be a great investment for homeowners to create rental income, Its hard to imagine that this will bring any relief to our rental shortage.