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Encinitas Offers ‘Off-The-Shelf’ Granny Flat Plans To Save On Permit Fees

One of the permit-ready designs offered by the city of Encinitas to homeowner...

Credit: Design Path Studios

Above: One of the permit-ready designs offered by the city of Encinitas to homeowners who want to save money on permits and fees when they build a granny flat in their back yard.

GUEST: Catherine Blakespear, mayor, city of Encinitas

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Encinitas is pioneering a way to make it easier for homeowners to build granny flats on their properties, in hopes that these units will help meet the city’s housing goals.

The city has contracted with two local architects to design “permit ready” plans for so-called "accessory dwelling units" that could save a homeowner up to $18,000 in permit fees.

The city needs to permit more than 1,000 new homes to meet state-mandated housing goals, and Mayor Catherine Blakespear said granny flats are a way to increase housing density without compromising neighborhood character.

“It’s clearly not going to be the only solution,” she said. “But I like the solution because of the additional value it gives land owners — homeowners — and also because it scatters density, so we end up without a major traffic problem on one road, we end up with having one or two additional cars spread out throughout neighborhoods.”

Blakespear said it’s a way for families to deal with younger generations who cannot afford to move into a home of their own, or older generations who want to downsize. Owners could not rent the units for less than 30 days.

The mayor said she got the idea from a city in Northern California and as far as she’s aware, no other city in San Diego has tried offering “off-the-shelf” plans.

“In 2018 we permitted close to 60 (units),” Blakespear said. “And my hope is that 200 or 300 granny flats will actually reduce the amount of re-zoning we need to do.”

The city will hold a meeting on the matter at 6 p.m., on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at city hall. A workshop is planned for 4 to 7 p.m., Monday, Jan. 28 at the Encinitas library, where architects will be on hand to answer questions.

Encinitas Offers ‘Off-The-Shelf’ Granny Flat Plans To Save On Permit Fees


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