San Diego's Development Services Department wants to tear down some of the restrictions built into the City's Land Development Code. Among the bundle of changes included in the department's update are regulations dealing with “companion units” or “granny flats” — accessory units that provide “complete living facilities.”
In 2003, in an effort to prevent single-family neighborhoods from turning into giant apartment complexes, then-mayor Dick Murphy and city councilmembers placed restrictions on erecting granny flats on single-family lots after the California Legislature passed Assembly Bill 1866, which allowed a density bonus for accessory units.
Among the provisions implemented in 2003: property owners were to replace garages that were transformed into additional residences; companion units could be built only on lots twice the size of typical single-family homes; and there was to be no simultaneous construction of primary dwellings and granny flats.
Looking to raze the regulations, the Development Services Department submitted amendments to the Land Development Code on September 17 of this year. In the draft proposal, the code is decorated with slashes and new paragraphs.
The corrections and additions are found on Section 141.0302, and they propose reducing the lot-size requirement, increasing the number of companion units that can be built in multifamily zones, and allowing simultaneous construction of granny flats and primary dwellings.
The amendments have not gone unnoticed.
“My single-family, residential-zoned neighborhood would be opened up to further crowding without a more publicly noticed up-zone change,” wrote a concerned South Park denizen in an email to this correspondent.
“Many pre-2003 code companion units already exist in my neighborhood and create density and parking problems.... The proposed changes give developers and realtors what they want,” concludes the South Park homeowner, “removal of restrictions on building rental units on single-family-zoned parcels.”
Employees at the City's Development Services Department did not respond to requests for comment.