Introduction to Accessory Dwelling Units
An accessory dwelling unit, commonly called a granny flat or in-law suite must exist on a lot that’s zoned single-family. It has its own entrance, separate from the primary house, as well as a kitchen, bathroom and living space. These units can be rented, year-round, and add a lot of value to a property.
Accessory dwelling units are permitted in the (ER-1), (ER-2), (LR), (LMR), (MR), (MHR), and (HR) zones.
Min/Max Building Sizes
The smallest ADU you can build is 350 square feet.
Homeowners can build a maximum of 1,200 sq/ft for a detached structure.
The accessory dwelling unit must comply with height requirements for the lot. The height of the ADU cannot exceed 16 feet.
Parking in Solana Beach
ADUs are required to have one off-street parking spot, which may be provided as tandem parking or within setbacks (given there are no safety concerns) or within an existing driveway.
Off-street parking is not required if:
- The ADU is within ½ mile of a public transit stop
- The ADU is within an architecturally or historically significant historic district
- The ADU is attached to the primary residence or an existing accessory structure
- The ADU is within an area where on-street parking permits are required but not available to occupants of the ADU
- The ADU is within one block of a car-share vehicle’s pick-up location (established by the city)
No setback is required for an existing garage that is converted into an ADU.
If you build above the garage a setback of 5 feet is required.
The accessory dwelling unit must comply with all other setback requirements for the lot.
Owner occupancy is required, which means that the owner must either live in the primary home or the accessory dwelling unit.
No short term rentals are allowed. This means renters must stay a minimum of 30 days or longer.
How to Evaluate ROI
Building an accessory dwelling unit, especially if you intend to keep the property for a few years, represents an enormously beneficial opportunity to maximize your property.
By constructing an accessory dwelling unit you are adding additional square footage to the property. So if you can build a unit for $275 a square foot, but the average value of homes in your neighborhood are worth $400 a square foot you are gaining instant equity through the project. Plus, you also now have the added benefit of a flexible space that can be rented or used for family.
- An ADU must provide new or separate utility connection directly between the accessory dwelling unit and the utility. The connection may be subject to a connection fee or a capacity charge that shall be proportionate to the burden of the new unit based upon with its size, the number of plumbing fixtures, or the water and sewer system.
- New utility connection is not needed if you are building the ADU within an existing house.
- ADU is not required to provide fire sprinklers if the main house is not required to have them.
- Any construction on the lot must conform to other property development regulations like; parking, height limits, setbacks, lot coverage, landscape, and floor area ratio.
Read the full ordinance here.
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