In a bid to spur the construction of ADUs and combat San Diego County’s housing crisis, including an acute shortage of affordable housing, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted in January to adopt a five-year trial program to waive fees for ADUs. In the wake of the City of San Diego’s fee waiver in July 2018, this program is expected to reduce construction costs for ADUs by approximately $14,000.
“This is a really big deal,” said Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Dianne Jacob. Together with efforts at the state level to limit regulations on ADU development, the fee waiver creates an economic motivation for developing ADUs. “We talk a lot about housing, the need for housing, and the need for affordable housing. This is the easiest and quickest way to get there,” remarked Board Chairwoman Jacob.
In recent years, rents in the region have increased substantially and the vacancy rate has dropped to 3.3%, exacerbating housing pressures. Due at least in part to costly development impact fees (for, e.g., electrical hookups, road construction, sewer connections, and public school support), ADU construction in San Diego and its environs has lagged despite the adoption of Senate Bill 1069, which was intended to encourage such projects. Given these facts, advocates for affordable housing and others are anxious for this trial program, for which San Diego County is providing $11 million to offset lost fee revenues, to promote the building of ADUs.