ADU Alliance

Affordable Dwelling Unit In San Diego County: Unlocking Opportunities With ADU Alliance

In the heart of San Diego County, where housing demands meet the desire for affordability, ADU Alliance stands as a beacon of hope. Our mission is clear — to transform living spaces, making them not just affordable dwelling unit in San Diego County but tailored to your unique needs. Join us on this exploration into the world of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), unraveling the essence of these supplementary dwellings and the expertise that ADU Alliance brings to the table.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Understanding the concept of ADUs and their importance in San Diego County.
  • Exploring ADU Alliance’s services and expertise in the field.
  • Unveiling the process of ADU construction, remodeling, and design.
  • Addressing regulatory aspects and seeking ADU consultation.

Understanding ADUs

What is ADU?

  • An Accessory Dwelling Unit, or ADU, is more than just a secondary housing unit. It’s a compact, self-contained living space right on your property. Also referred to as a granny flat, in-law unit, or backyard cottage, an ADU comes complete with its own kitchen, bathroom, and living area. In essence, it’s an independent unit that complements the primary residence. The term “ADU meaning” itself stands for “Accessory Dwelling Unit,” highlighting its supplementary role in the overall property.

Recent California ADU Legislative Changes

In January 2023, California enacted AB 2221, AB 916, and SB 897 which contained over a dozen impactful changes for ADU laws in San Diego. Most notably:

  • Height Restriction Overrides: The new laws allow homeowners in certain areas to build 2-story detached ADUs subject to maximum height limits such as 18 or 25 feet, depending on location specifics. This enables the construction of ADUs with enough height for a second level.
  • Expedited Review: The state mandated a 60-day limit for local agencies to approve or deny ADU permit applications after submittal. This stringent deadline aims to accelerate project approvals.
  • Affordability Incentives: The ADU laws in San Diego County standardize an affordable housing density bonus that enables homeowners to build additional market-rate units if they designate some ADUs as income-restricted affordable dwelling unit in San Diego County.

San Diego County adopted guidelines to reflect these 2023 ADU laws. The county’s updated ADU regulations include specific height allowances for 2-story units based on their proximity to transit and application review deadlines.

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Where Are ADUs Allowed in San Diego County?

  • You can only build an ADU on a residentially zoned property with an existing single-family home per county zoning regulations. Use this zoning lookup to verify your eligibility by entering your assessor’s parcel number (APN).
  • If your property qualifies, you may be able to have up to one detached ADU plus one junior ADU on the lot. A junior ADU (JADU) is a smaller dwelling (maximum 500 sq ft) created within the walls of the primary residence.
  • JADUs must include an efficient kitchen, separate entrance, and interior entry to the main home. The owner must reside on-site within either the JADU or primary dwelling.

ADU Laws in San Diego County: ADU Size Requirements

The maximum ADU sizes allowed depend on whether the unit is attached or detached:


Square Footage of Existing single-family residence (SFD) Maximum Allowed Square Footage for Detached ADU Maximum Allowed Square Footage for Attached ADU (up to 50% of SFD)
Studio or 1 Bedroom ADU 2 Bedrooms  or more  ADU
500 sq. ft. 1,200 sq. ft. 850 sq. ft. 1,000 sq. ft.
1,000 sq. ft. 1,200 sq. ft. 850 sq. ft. 1,000 sq. ft.
1,800 sq. ft. 1,200 sq. ft. 900 sq. ft. 1,000 sq. ft.
2,000 sq. ft. 1,200 sq. ft. 1,000 sq. ft. 1,000 sq. ft.
2,200 sq. ft. 1,200 sq. ft. 1,100 sq. ft. 1,100 sq. ft.
3,000 sq. ft. 1,200 sq. ft. 1,200 sq. ft. 1,200 sq. ft.
4,500 sq. ft. 1,200 sq. ft. 1,200 sq. ft. 1,200 sq. ft.

There are no explicit limits on the number of bedrooms in a detached ADU.

Building Permit Requirements

Yes, you need to obtain a building permit before any kind of affordable dwelling unit in San Diego County construction, as per ADU laws in San Diego County. This crucial process verifies your unit meets important health, safety, zoning, and building code regulations.

The County PDS department reviews all ADU permit applications. They ensure your project adheres to regulations around:

  • Maximum size
  • Height restrictions
  • Setback minimums (distance from property lines)
  • Utility requirements
  • Parking rules

PDS also enforces the state’s 60-day application review limit. At a minimum, detached ADUs must provide:

Necessary Amenities

  • Complete kitchen
  • Bathroom (toilet, sink, shower)
  • Sleeping area(s)
  • Separate exterior entrance

Potential Other Requirements

  • Fire sprinklers
  • Parking space(s)
  • New utility meters and connections

Attached ADUs typically have lower amenity thresholds since they can share walls and systems with the affordable dwelling unit in San Diego County.

Utility Service Requirements

You will likely need independent utility infrastructure for a detached ADU, including:

  • Separate water line with a meter
  • Independent electrical panel and meter
  • Dedicated gas line, if applicable
  • Individual sewer/septic access

For attached ADUs, you can sometimes share utility connections with the primary dwelling or sub-meter of the ADU usage.

Utility connection costs often reach $5,000+ for detached ADUs but may be far less for attached units. Verify requirements and costs upfront with local utility companies.

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ADU Permit Cost Breakdown

  • As part of a temporary county fee waiver program through January 2024, ADU laws in San Diego waive certain ADU plan check costs. However, you must still pay building permit fees, impact fees, and potentially utility connection and capacity charges for affordable dwelling unit in San Diego County.

Typical ADU permit costs include:

Plan Check Fees

  • Review of construction plans
  • $800 – $2,500
  • Waived through January 2024

Building Permit Fees

  • Approval to begin construction
  • $2,500 – $5,000+

Impact Fees

  • Offset community facility impacts
  • $2,000 – $15,000+

Utility Connection Fees

  • Water, electrical, sewer, etc
  • $2,000 – $15,000

Total Budget: $7,000–$40,000+, depending significantly on size and whether utilities require upgrades. You can use ADU cost calculators to estimate expenses. Get proposals from reputable builders to dial in accurate pricing.

Affordable Dwelling Unit in San Diego County

ADU Alliance understands that one size does not fit all. That’s why we offer a diverse range of ADU options, each catering to different preferences and needs.

  • Carriage House Apartments: Elevate your living space with a charming carriage house. Choose from a small carriage house or explore the possibilities of a 2-story carriage house. Our expertise in ADU architecture ensures that your new space seamlessly blends with your existing property.
  • Granny Flats: Discover the flexibility of granny flats, ranging from self-contained one-bedroom units to more spacious two-bedroom or even 3-bedroom configurations. Our granny flat builders specialize in creating homes that are not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing.
  • In-law Suites: Embrace the convenience of in-law units, whether it’s a mother-in-law suite, backyard in-law cottage, or a stylish granny apartment. ADU Alliance has the experience to construct units that meet local regulations and enhance your property’s value.

The ADU Construction Process Unveiled

Building an ADU involves a step-by-step process, and ADU Alliance is here to guide you through each stage.

  • ADU Designing: Before construction begins, our experts work with you to design a space that aligns with your vision. This includes considering the type of ADU, layout, and architectural elements.
  • ADU Permitting: Navigating the regulatory landscape is crucial. We provide assistance in obtaining the necessary permits, ensuring a smooth and compliant construction process.
  • ADU Regulatory Assistance: From zoning requirements to building codes, we offer comprehensive regulatory support to ensure your ADU project meets all necessary standards.

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Exploring Different ADU Types

ADUs come in various forms, and ADU Alliance specializes in bringing these concepts to life.

  • Container ADU: For those who appreciate innovation, a container ADU can provide a modern, sustainable living space. Explore the possibilities of container homes with ADU Alliance.
  • Backyard ADU: Maximize the space in your backyard by adding an ADU. Our backyard ADUs are designed to seamlessly integrate with your property while providing valuable additional living space.
  • Garage Conversion ADU: Transforming an existing garage into an ADU is a popular choice. Whether it’s a detached garage or an attached one, ADU Alliance excels in garage conversion projects.

Explore Our ADU Services:

The Link Between ADUs and Affordable Living

  • Affordability is a key aspect of ADU living, and ADU Alliance ensures that your project aligns with budget considerations. By utilizing cost-effective construction methods and leveraging our network of suppliers, we strive to make the dream of affordable dwelling units a reality for San Diego County residents.

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The ADU Alliance Advantage

  • Expert Consultation: Our team offers personalized consultations, understanding your needs and guiding you through the entire ADU process.
  • Quality Construction: With years of experience in ADU construction, we deliver high-quality, durable living spaces that stand the test of time.
  • Regulatory Expertise: Navigating the regulatory landscape can be daunting. ADU Alliance’s in-depth knowledge ensures a hassle-free permitting process.
  • Versatility in Design: From classic granny flats to modern backyard cottages, our design team tailors each project to suit your style and preferences.

Conclusion: Your Path to Affordable Dwelling Unit in San Diego County

In conclusion, ADU Alliance is not just a provider of housing solutions; we are partners in turning your vision of affordable living into a reality. The journey towards an affordable dwelling unit in San Diego County begins with understanding your needs and ends with a living space that exceeds expectations.

For more information or to start your ADU project, contact ADU Alliance at (760) 456-8747.