CHAIRWOMAN DIANNE JACOB
San Diego County Board of Supervisors
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COUNTY OFFERING FREE, PRE-APPROVED HOUSING PLANS
Incentive program aims to spur construction of granny flats, other affordable homes
San Diego County officials, ramping up their efforts to encourage the construction of affordable housing, today began offering free, pre-approved floor plans for granny flats and other accessory homes.
The incentive program is expected to save property owners and others in the county’s unincorporated area about $15,000 per house.
That figure comes on top of another $15,000 builders have been saving since the county began waiving permit and development fees for accessory homes early this year.
“At a time when so many people are looking for quality, affordable housing, we’re removing some of the red tape that can get in the way,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob, board chairwoman. “Plus, you can’t beat the price -- the floor plans don’t cost a dime. The bottom line? We’ve cut $30,000 off the price of each house.”
County officials are encouraging the construction of accessory homes, often called “granny flats,” as part of a broader effort to close the affordable housing gap.
They cite the availability of space on many larger residential properties and estimate there are roughly 172,000 homes on existing lots in the county’s sprawling unincorporated area.
“If just a fraction of these lots can accommodate a smaller, second home, that would go a long way toward addressing the need for affordable housing,” Jacob said.
These units could serve low-income seniors, veterans and others who may be at risk of homelessness.
“Accessory dwelling units are an excellent housing solution for older adults,” said Kim Gallo, director of county Aging & independence Services. “They help create an intergenerational home, a place for a caregiver to live onsite, or a means of rental income to an older adult who owns their home. This program makes it easier for older adults in our region to age in their community.”
Two permit-ready, no-cost floor plans – sized at 600 and 1,200 square feet – were posted online today, with others to be added in coming weeks.
“I applaud San Diego County for stepping up its game and finding creative ways to help tackle the region’s affordable housing crisis,” said Ricardo Flores, executive director of the San Diego Local Initiatives Support Corp., a non-profit that works with communities to develop lower-cost housing. “We need multiple approaches to address this crisis and providing free floor plans and waiving fees can be important tools in this effort.”
Other steps taken by the county to boost affordable housing include the creation of a $25 million trust fund two years ago to help spur development.
The Board of Supervisors earlier this year added another $25 million to the fund, which has already help finance a 54-unit housing complex in Poway and several other projects.
Nearly 500 units have been funded so far, with the potential for another 1,500 when the entire $50 million has been allocated.
Jacob first raised the idea of offering free floor plans for accessory homes in her State of the County address in February.