San Diego Residents Challenge the City's ADU Regulations

Residents in some of the city's single-family neighborhoods worry about the potential impacts of ADU construction on local character and parking.

2 minute read

May 24, 2021, 11:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Detached backyard cottage in Oregon

Sightline Institute: Missing Middle Homes Photo Library / Detached Secondary Suite

Some San Diego residents are pushing back on the city's recent loosening of regulations on backyard "granny flats," citing concerns that the increased density could "destroy neighborhood character."

"Hundreds of residents in Kensington, Talmadge, Rolando and El Cerrito are demanding an immediate moratorium on a city policy approved in October that they say could badly damage residential neighborhoods across the city," reports David Garrick for the San Diego Union Tribune. The group, which calls itself Neighbors for a Better San Diego, "say the new policy goes too far and will have the unintended consequence of allowing some people to build several granny flats in their back yard." The group claims the changes were approved "with limited public debate" and minimal efforts to collect stakeholder opinions. They worry that the new rules will "make residential zoning mostly meaningless, exacerbate parking scarcity in many neighborhoods and lengthen the time it takes to get to freeways in others."

City officials say "the bonus granny flat rule is essentially the city implementing state law, which requires cities to create incentives for granny flat construction." Last year, California passed new regulations easing restrictions on ADU construction in an effort to mitigate the state's housing affordability crisis. San Diego has also eliminated parking requirements for ADUs and "allows property owners to construct extra granny flats if they agree to rent restrictions on at least one of their granny flats."

Tuesday, May 18, 2021 in San Diego Union-Tribune

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