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Companion/Junior Units

 New! Companion Units can now be processed over-the-counter. Detached one-story units, additions and conversions of garages or accessory structures all qualify. You can also submit permit-ready, no-cost building plans from the County of San Diego and the City of Encinitas Permit-Ready Accessory Dwelling Unit (PRADU) program for the construction of new Companion and Junior Units in existing single-family or multi-family properties citywide. The plans still must meet the City of San Diego submittal guidelines for a building permit.

Companion Units, also referred to as accessory dwelling units, casitas, cottages or granny flats, are detached or attached accessory structures on a residential lot that:

  1. Provide living facilities for one or more persons;
  2. Are independent of the primary dwelling unit; and
  3. Include permanent provisions for living, sleeping and cooking.

A Junior Unit is an accessory structure that is contained entirely within an existing, habitable single dwelling unit.

Both Companion and Junior Units can be integrated in existing single-family or multi-family properties and can be designed in a variety of ways, including converting a portion of an existing house, adding to the existing house, converting an existing garage or constructing a new detached structure. Learn more about PDF icon Companion and Junior Units

 

Highlights

Companion and Junior Units are an integral part of the City's Housing SD initiatives that will help increase housing affordability and supply citywide. The City has amended regulations make it easier and less expensive to build Companion and Junior Units, helping to provide affordable and below market housing throughout the City. These amendments include:

  • Expediting permit processing, plan review and construction inspection times, and processing new companion unit permits over-the-counter for detached one-story units, additions, conversions of garages or accessory structures.  With over-the-counter permitting, applicants may receive all approvals necessary for construction on the same day, rather than having to wait as long as two weeks to get plan corrections back.
  • Allowing the use of permit-ready, no-cost building plans from the County of San Diego and the City of Encinitas Permit-Ready Accessory Dwelling Unit (PRADU) program. The plans still must meet the City of San Diego submittal guidelines for a building permit.

  • Increasing zoning flexibility.
  • Waiving Development Impact Fees, Facility Benefit Assessment Fees and General Plan Maintenance Fees.  
  • Increasing the maximum size of a project from 700 square feet to 1,200 square feet. 
  • Maintaining the existing setbacks for a permitted garage or a non-habitable accessory structure that is converted to a Companion Unit. 
  • Exempting qualified projects from requirements to create new parking space.  
  • Requiring that rental periods for Companion or Junior Units be greater than 30 days. 

Here is a summary of the Companion Unit applications received, construction permits issued and the number of Companion Units completed by year. 

 
Year Applications
Received
Permits
Issued
Construction
Complete
2019 545* 419* 179*
2018 409 266 72
2017 142 32 15
2016 19 18 19

*The data provided is current as of Nov. 30, 2019.


Municipal Code


Submittal Requirements


Fee Schedule


Inspections


Publications and Resources

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