January 08, 2024

San Diego ADU Challenges: Key Insights from CBS 8 Case Study

Discover the challenges of ADU development in San Diego with insights from a CBS 8 case study. Learn about design standards and community impact.

https://www.cbs8.com/video/news/local/working-for-you/two-story-adu-in-rancho-peasquitos-frustrating-neighbors/509-0fc99638-ee59-4fc7-bfe2-a52c34592a9e See the influencing story here.

Done right, ADUs are a great way to create affordable housing for parents, grandparents, adult children, retirees, students, healthcare professionals and create passive income.

This ADU in the CBS 8 San Diego story is an example of what homeowners should not do. The massing - height of the building is unnecessary.

I can understand why there are some San Diego homeowners who are frustrated with the density and style of building. There should be city design standards for second story ADUs that are built to the maximum allowable size as well as units built in the frontage of properties. Architects, Design - Build Firms and Contractors need to be considerate of neighboring properties as well.

The building in this story could easily have been constructed at least 6 feet lower without losing any livable square footage. If you look at the low end of the existing roofline, it’s at 8 feet. The new unit has much taller walls and a steeper pitched roof.

I agree that property owners should be able to add on to their homes, however, when the construction affects neighboring property values, views and the harmony of developments, certain guidelines must be met.

In researching the permit on this project, the zoning is RS-1-14, which means the height limit is actually 35 feet. The building height here is well under 35 feet and likely less than 30 feet. In my opinion, not more than 24 feet should be allowed, otherwise a loft may be added after final inspection, making the floor area 1,800 square feet.

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Gregg Cantor


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