Residents push back against granny flat policy

Local

Hundreds of San Diegans are pushing back against a policy that was supposed to expand affordable housing in parts of the city.

It may be one thing for your neighbor to build a granny flat in their backyard to rent out, but two or more can suddenly make it feel like an entire complex is sprouting up — which is what some residents in Talmadge fear they are starting to see.

“Really what’s happening as we dig into this issue is that backyards are really being opened up to corporate development,” said Geoffrey Hueter with Neighbors For a Better San Diego.

The group is asking for a moratorium on a new city policy regarding accessory dwelling units. The policy cuts fees and opens doors to additional ADUs that can be placed on people’s properties. If one of your ADUs is rent-restricted, you’re allowed to have an additional ADU and if you live within a half-mile of a transit line, you’re allowed even more ADUs on your property.

“Now they’re really mini apartments,” Hueter said.

From an aesthetic standpoint, he’s concerned they will not match current architecture in their community and he’s concerned with less parking on the street. He also says the new language means owners of the home no longer have to live on the property, which is why he fears it will take on a corporate feel.

Hueter feels the policy was pushed through on the city level without much input from locals when it passed last October.

“The idea that every single family residence is being turned into an apartment building is simply not the truth,” said Kalani Cruetzberg with ADU Geeks, a company that has designed, permitted and built more than 70 ADUs.

He says there are limits to how many units can be built each property, limits to what their size can be and thinks the policy is a good one. However, he does acknowledge a lot of the changes are happening quickly and without some input from the community that may wish to be heard.

“I absolutely understand where [Geoff] is coming from and I agree … we need to approach this problem together in a safe and healthy way that unites us all,” Cruetzberg said.

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