San Diego Housing Commission releases granny flats pilot program report
Speaker 1: (00:00)
The number of accessory dwelling units or a use often called granny flats continues to grow. And San Diego construction boomed during the pandemic and shows no signs of slowing, but the process of building a small detached house in a backyard can be more challenging and more expensive than many homeowners realize. So the San Diego housing commission is out with a report on lessons learned from its own pilot program, building five granny flats in the city of San Diego, Johnny Mia, San Diego housing commission, executive vice president of real estate, Emily Jacobs, and Emily. Welcome to the
Speaker 2: (00:37)
Program. Thank you so much. Lovely to be here.
Speaker 1: (00:41)
Why did the housing commission launched this pilot program? Were you maybe getting a lot of questions about ADA use from homeowners?
Speaker 2: (00:49)
So the pilot program is a result of a study that the housing commission completed in 2017. It's entitled addressing the affordable housing crisis and it noted 80 use as a method to assist in housing production. Additionally, per the direction of the land use and housing committee in 2019, this pilot program was born as sort of a test kitchen of sorts to help the citizens of San Diego understand the process of ADU design, permitting and construction.
Speaker 1: (01:17)
Okay. So where did you build the houses?
Speaker 2: (01:19)
We built the houses on five available yard space on some single family home dwellings that the housing commissions, nonprofit affiliate housing development partners owns and operates. So we have that yard space, um, and it proved to be good locations for this test kitchen, um, pilot program. No
Speaker 1: (01:39)
One of the major suggestions, the housing commission offers is using quote, permit, ready, housing plans in construction. Why is that important? It's fair.
Speaker 2: (01:50)
Very important because it really, it does two things. It allows the homeowner to have plans that are ready to go. So you limit the amount of design cost associated with doing this. Additionally, what makes it important is to modify it, to be consistent with the municipal code for the jurisdiction that you're wanting to develop the ADU in. So it essentially cuts time in the permitting process, as well as the design cost associated with developing use.
Speaker 1: (02:22)
What are some of the other lessons learned from the pilot program?
Speaker 2: (02:26)
We, uh, quite frankly learned a ton. Um, one of the key takeaways was to assemble a team of experienced professionals for design permitting and construction. A lot of times it seems, you know, doing something like this is not a daunting task, but all of the development principles still apply regardless of the size of the property or the size of the unit you intend to put on the property. So assembling a team of experienced professionals is key. Again, like we mentioned previously, using permit ready plans, it's also important to consider a factors that significantly impact costs. And that would be, uh, things that would drive up permit cost, or if you want some specialized design elements, um, in addition to kind of how it's going to situate on the lot. So really being cognizant to do that upfront work, to avoid those backend pitfalls. Another thing we learned was to prepare for factors that could significantly impact the project timeline.
Speaker 2: (03:28)
Again, if you're wanting to do something very involved on the design side, you know, do all that up from work because time is money. So you want to pay close attention to the schedule associated with the development of the 80 years. A number thing that was very, very fun in terms of the pilot program was the use of a manufactured home, very, very different than a custom stick built, um, and proved to have reduced cost and reduce timing in terms of permitting and actual construction. So very, very fun, um, medium that we used. Um, and we, we highly recommend using manufactured.
Speaker 1: (04:06)
How much did the ADU cost to build?
Speaker 2: (04:10)
So they varied, um, by type for the studios stick, build, it ran, uh, just shy of 120,000 for the three bedroom, three bath stick build just shy of 350,000 and your manufactured home. It ran a just shy of 140,000. I will say that the square footage on the manufactured is about double the studio size and the cost per square foot on the manufactured is the lowest.
Speaker 1: (04:42)
And I'm going to ask you this about stick-built cause I guess construction doesn't take too long on manufactured units. How long does construction take?
Speaker 2: (04:50)
Yeah, great question. So for the stick build, um, it took upwards of two years all in from design permitting and construction. The actual construction phase ran about eight to 10 months, depending on type
Speaker 1: (05:06)
Anything about the process of building these pilot project, granny flat surprise the housing commission.
Speaker 2: (05:13)
I think what we learned as a good aha was to make sure that you understand the topography of any of the parcels on these projects. When you build them, you have to ensure a level site and it might not be visual to you that there is topography on the site. So in [inaudible] for us was to ensure that you do a topographical study on all of the parcels to ensure that when you situate either the stick build or the manufacturer that you don't have anything being sort of wonky in the process.
Speaker 1: (05:48)
Okay. It, now, if people want to learn more about the housing commission pilot project and those lessons learned, where can they find that information?
Speaker 2: (05:56)
Absolutely. They can find it on our firstname.lastname@example.org. And it's an ADU landing page that they would
Speaker 1: (06:06)
Search for. There's also links to other resources, as well as the city of San Diego's page that has additional resources on the development videos. And I've been speaking with Emily Jacobs with the San Diego housing commission. Emily, thank you so
Speaker 2: (06:19)
Much. You're welcome. My pleasure.
Speaker 3: (06:22)
The San Diego Housing Commission Monday completed a pilot program to construct five Accessory Dwelling Units — sometimes referred to as "granny flats" — and provide a report on the lessons learned to help San Diego homeowners considering building the units.
"The rising cost of housing is far outpacing people's income, and the dream of owning a home is becoming more and more unreachable for families," said City Councilwoman Vivian Moreno, who represents Council District 8, the location of SDHC's five ADUs. "The findings from the pilot program will help homeowners throughout our city understand the process and costs associated with creating Accessory Dwelling Units on their property, which increases housing in our region."
The ADUs were developed in available yard space at five single-family homes owned and rented by SDHC's nonprofit affiliate as affordable housing.
"Our affordable housing supply continues to be a critical issue affecting all San Diegans," said Council President Pro Tem Stephen Whitburn. "The need for affordable housing far exceeds our housing production and has led to many of our residents being unable to afford living in our city.
"As the council and mayor continue to push for housing solutions, we must work together to overcome this crisis affecting San Diegans," Whitburn said.
SDHC published its report about the ADU pilot program on its website at www.sdhc.org/adu.
"ADUs are an important option available to create new rental homes to address the housing shortage in the city of San Diego," SDHC President and CEO Richard C. Gentry said. "The lessons learned from the San Diego Housing Commission's program will help homeowners understand cost, timelines and other aspects of development as they consider building ADUs."
To develop the ADUs in its pilot program, SDHC modified plans from Encinitas to ensure they fulfilled San Diego city code requirements. SDHC submitted those final plans to the city and, upon final approval, will make them available as permit-ready plans for other San Diego homeowners.
Cost estimates to build a AUD, based on SDHC's pilot program, range from $116,803 for a 224-square-foot studio to $342,078 for a 1,199-square-foot three-bedroom unit. The building time may range from 10 to 26 months, depending on the type of ADU.
ADUs were identified as one of the five main sources of potential new housing in the city of San Diego over 10 years, through 2028, in SDHC's report released Monday. The number of ADUs permitted for construction in the city rose from 32 in 2017 to 266 in 2018 and 627 in 2019. In 2020, 493 ADUs were permitted for construction, according to the city's annual housing inventory report.