Granny Flats

Granny Flat Update: Tracking One Family's Progress on Backyard Addition

The Krone family granny-flat project is moving along, but it hasn't been without a few surprises

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As a potential solution to the limited amount of affordable housing, the city of San Diego has loosened rules and fees for the construction of Accessory Dwelling Units, otherwise known as granny flats.

Since last October, NBC 7 has followed the progress made by the Krone family of Rancho Peñasquitos, which is in the process of building a 1,000-plus square-foot granny flat in their backyard.

Their original story can be found here:

The actual construction started in early March after a 45-day wait for permit approvals. The granny flat is starting to take shape, with the cement foundation poured and its wood framing just about completed.

While the city of San Diego has, in fact, reduced ADU fees, the construction manager of the Krones' project said there are still fees that people should be aware of.

“You’re going to run into city fees, school fees, that kind of thing, different fees, so your permits on this one here was roughly $15,000,” said Rich Shamlian of Construction Management of San Diego.

Once permitting was approved, the project started off by bringing in a back hoe, which dug long trenches alongside the existing home, back toward the granny flat. Water and sewage lines will go in one trench, gas and electric lines in the other.

To date, the project has pretty much gone as planned, though there have been a couple of unforeseen issues: For one, the Krone property is up against a canyon, which got the attention of the fire department.

“I had to add on an additional fire plan, some brush management notes, which was unexpected, and we had to add a sprinkler system inside,” said Beth LaChatie, the project design manager, who works for LCI Design & Collections.

Something else to be aware of: The soaring cost of building materials, like lumber. It’s estimated that costs for the project have gone up about 15% since the original estimate.

LaChatie recommends purchasing any materials early. Preplanning means the materials that could take up to 12 weeks for delivery will arrive on time.

Meanwhile, LaChatie credits the city’s loosened restrictions on easement rules that allowed the granny flat to be built extremely close to the existing property line.

Prior to the amendments, there would generally have to be about a 10-foot space between the structure and the property line. Easing those rules allowed the granny flat to be a bit larger.

According to the city of San Diego, there has been a surge in permits and the actual building of granny flats. In 2016, nine units were built. That number exploded to 386 in 2020. So far this year, 197 applications have been received, with 179 permits being issued. Construction has been completed on 128 ADU’s.

The Krone family granny flat is expected to be completed by early September.

“To see the end project, it’s rewarding,,” Latachie said. "It really is."

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