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San Diego County Supervisors Approve Grant To Encourage Building Of ‘Granny Flats’

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.

San Diego County Supervisors on Wednesday gave the go-ahead for the county to use a $625,000 grant to subsidize more accessory dwelling units, also known as "granny flats."

The vote was 4-1, with Kristin Gaspar opposed. The money will be provided by the 2017 state Senate Bill 2, the Building Homes and Jobs Act. The county will not have to provide any matching funds to apply.

Board Chairwoman Dianne Jacob said that county staff will return to the board at its Nov. 20 meeting with a resolution accepting the grant money to subsidize the construction of ADUs as outlined in a 2018 proposal.

Gaspar said while she was "glad to see the state is willing to finally pay for something," the money should go for middle-income housing.

RELATED: San Diego County Offering Free, Pre-Approved Housing Plans For Granny Flats

She added that money should also go toward streamlining existing programs and a density bonus.

"Please look at the outcomes of these programs; they're not actually producing the housing stock that we expect them to," Gaspar said. "I want this program to be successful — I really do."

Gaspar, formerly mayor of Encinitas, said while her city has a successful granny flat program that allowed people with illegal ADUs to come forward, it required numerous upgrades to bring those units up to code.

Jacob countered that Encinitas is different from the county's unincorporated region, which has around 172,000 homes on existing lots.

She added that her constituents are interested in adding granny flats, and there has been an increase in the number of permits. "We need to give the program a chance," Jacob said, adding that with any new proposal, there may be some kinks.

Jacob also said that previous density bonus initiatives have produced "zero, zip, zilch" in the unincorporated area.

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