ADU Alliance

Your Ultimate Guide 2023 ADU Laws In La Mesa, CA Unlocking Potential

Located in eastern San Diego County, the city of La Mesa sits around 15 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean beaches. With ample parks and tree-lined neighborhoods, La Mesa offers the quintessential suburban California lifestyle. Housing options range from 1920s Spanish-style bungalows to 1970s mid-century ranches, plus more contemporary homes.

adu laws in la mesa

Key Takeaways

  • Types of ADUs Allowed in La Mesa
  • La Mesa Development Standards for ADUs
  • ADU Allowances for Multifamily Properties
  • Financing ADU Projects in La Mesa
  • Utility Connections and Impact Fees
  • Hiring a Licensed ADU Contractor in La Mesa

Given rising housing costs, ADU laws in La Mesa comple homeowners now consider adding an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on their property. Also termed granny flats or in-law suites, ADUs present affordable housing for adult children, aging parents, long-term renters, and other circumstances. This guide examines ADU laws in La Mesa’s latest ADU building codes, permit rules, and development standards for 2023.

We further provide full-service ADU project management, design, and construction services in La Mesa. Our qualified San Diego County consultants simplify building an approved, permitted ADU that maximizes value and rental potential for your property.

ADU Laws in La Mesa: Overview

California enacted multiple new laws between 2017 to 2022 that reduce regulatory barriers around constructing ADUs and junior ADUs (JADUs):

  • Allow ADUs on virtually all residential lots
  • Limit ADU size and setbacks
  • Streamline approval and permitting
  • Cap or waive certain development fees

La Mesa updated its zoning code regarding ADUs in 2020 to comply with California Government Code Sections 65852.2. The new standards appear in Chapter 24.05 of the La Mesa Municipal Code. Let’s break down key elements of La Mesa’s ADU building regulations for lots with existing or proposed single-family homes. We also summarize the ADU allowance and rules for multifamily properties.

adu laws in la mesa types of adu

Types of ADUs Allowed in La Mesa

La Mesa’s municipal code identifies several classifications of ADUs:

ADU Type Definition
Detached ADU Fully separate unit from the primary dwelling
Attached ADU Shares one or more walls with the primary dwelling
Converted ADU Repurpose existing space (e.g. garage) into an ADU
Internal ADU Created from the non-livable area within a single-family home

Junior ADUs of less than 500 square feet are also defined. Virtually all ADU types are allowed. We design and build custom ADUs in La Mesa to maximize livable space and return on investment.

La Mesa Development Standards for ADUs

ADU laws in La Mesa aligned their ADU regulations with California building codes. We break down key La Mesa development standards below:

Number of ADUs Allowed

  • 1 ADU and 1 JADU are permitted per single-family lot

ADU Unit Size

  • Maximum ADU size: 1,200 square feet
  • There is no size limit for converted ADUs
  • Maximum junior ADU size: 500 square feet

ADU Height Allowance

  • Cannot exceed primary dwelling height

ADU Setbacks

  • The front setback matches the primary dwelling
  • 4-foot side and rear setback permitted up to a 16-foot height

Parking Requirements

  • No additional parking is required for ADUs
  • No need to replace parking lost from garage conversion

Contact us or see La Mesa’s ADU code for full details. Our La Mesa ADU specialists stay updated on local zoning rules to optimize your granny flat or guest house.

adu laws in la mesa multifamily allowances

ADU Allowances for Multifamily Properties

Beyond single-family homes, ADU laws in La Mesa allow:

  • Up to 2 detached ADUs per existing multifamily building
  • Conversion of non-living space to internal ADUs for up to 25% of current units

For example, a 16-unit apartment building could add four internal ADUs through garage or storage conversions. We help La Mesa clients seamlessly add ADUs to their existing multifamily assets. Attached and detached ADUs present lucrative rental opportunities, while internal conversions better utilize unused floor areas.

Streamlined Approval Process for La Mesa ADUs

Similar to other California cities, ADU laws in La Mesa established expedited approval and permitting for ADU projects:

  • administrative review with no public hearing
  • The 60-day maximum timeframe for approving ADU permit applications
  • exemptions from certain overlay zoning rules

Coastal zone requirements, historic preservation standards, or utility upgrades may dictate additional steps. We offer full-service ADU permitting help in La Mesa to simplify approval.

adu laws in la mesa utility and impact fees

Utility Connections and Impact Fees for La Mesa ADUs

As part of facilitating ADU development, ADU laws in La Mesa waive certain utility costs and cap impact fees. For example:

  • no sewer or water connection fees for JADUs
  • reduced connection fees for internal ADUs using existing lateral
  • new lateral connections are subject to a proportional fee based on ADU size or fixtures
  • ADU impact fees limited to 750 square feet of area

We help homeowners pay the least possible amount of fees when adding an ADU. Our consultants identify any fee waivers while coordinating service upgrades to avoid inflated utility costs.

Financing ADU Projects in La Mesa

Constructing a new detached ADU or converting existing space ranges from $100,000 to $250,000+, with many projects in the $150,000 to $200,000 range. While a major investment, upgrading your La Mesa home with an ADU brings sizable financial returns through added rental income and improved property value. We help clients secure financing for their ADU build.

Specialized ADU Loans

Private lenders now offer competitive ADU construction loans that finance up to 100% of your granny flat or guest house costs. Favorable rates and terms make repayment manageable.

Affordable Government Financing

Qualified applicants in La Mesa can tap California HCD programs for affordable loans or grants to fully or partially fund the construction of an ADU on their property.

Home Equity

Many homeowners use cash-out refinancing or home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) to access their property’s available equity at better rates compared to other loan options.

We have strong relationships with top national and local lenders that facilitate mortgages and construction loans for all types of La Mesa ADU projects.

adu laws in la mesa licensed contractors

Hiring a Licensed ADU Contractor in La Mesa

Properly constructing an approved ADU involves zoning analysis, engineered plans, permits, utility upgrades, and coordinated subcontractors. Homeowners risk serious delays, added costs, or compliance issues without guidance.

We strongly suggest hiring an experienced, legally certified ADU development firm in La Mesa. Look for qualifications like:

  • GBC-1 or B Residential Contractor License
  • In-depth expertise with California ADU regulations
  • End-to-end services encompassing all project stages
  • Existing relationships with city officials and tradespeople

As fully licensed La Mesa ADU builders, ADU Alliance checks all the boxes. Starting with personalized planning and budgeting, we oversee approved designs, permits, construction, and final inspection. Contact us at (760) 456-8747 for a free quote!


The city of La Mesa makes adding an ADU to your home more feasible than ever thanks to updated zoning codes and permitting rules aligned with state laws. Homeowners now enjoy extensive flexibility regarding the number of ADUs, size, height exemptions, reduced setbacks, and waived utility connection fees. Whether you are applying to build a new detached ADU, convert existing space, or add an internal JADU, contact our La Mesa ADU experts to begin your project.