New legislation about “guest houses” in San Diego!

Whether you call them guest houses, granny flats, or second dwelling units, there’s some exciting news about them! New legislation passed in CA lifts some of the restrictions around these units, which are now all called Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s).

Two of the most exciting features of the new rules, which went into effect on Jan 1st, are that ADU’s are now allowed to be as big as 50% of the square footage of the main house instead of 30% and, if the project is located close to public transportation, the requirement to provide extra onsite parking has been waived. The new rules also make permitting an ADU faster and less expensive. A permitted ADU can legally be rented out, generating steady income for the owner.

Most jurisdictions count square footage of living space to the inside of the walls, so the thick walls of a  strawbale building wouldn’t be counted in the maximum square footage calculations. Even if your home is smaller than 800 sq feet, most jurisdictions will allow you to build a 400 sq ft ADU, as long as you can meet the zoning and setback requirements.

This could be huge for San Diego’s affordable housing crisis! Now combine that with natural, non-toxic, low-carbon building and we can do something real to address our growing population in a more sustainable way.

If you would like to explore the possibility of building a high-performance, non-toxic ADU on your property, we’d be happy to help you evaluate your options.