Example of an accessory dwelling unit, also known as a “granny flat.” Photo via aocconstruction.com

The city of San Diego is expanding its online virtual appointment services to help residents and business owners with questions about constructing accessory dwelling units and installing or altering building signs.

New accessory dwelling unit virtual services come in response to increased public interest in constructing these units, triggered by the city’s Housing SD initiatives intended to make building easier, quicker, and less expensive.

“Accessory dwelling units are an essential part of helping San Diego meet its affordable housing needs and create housing options for all of us,” said Mayor Todd Gloria. “Using technology, San Diegans can tap into the expertise at development services to convert underused parts of their properties into affordable, independent, and long-term living solutions for residents who’ve been priced out of our housing market.”

In October 2020, the development services department launched its online booking system for virtual services to replace previously available walk-in and scheduled appointments at the downtown Development Services Center.

During virtual ADU appointments, city staff will guide homeowners or design professionals on zoning requirements and help determine project development regulations. In addition to the ADU online appointments, the public can now meet virtually with designated staff to better understand the city’s building sign regulations. Staff can answer questions on the size, type, and placement of signs used for business identification or residential buildings.

“In the last three years, [development services department] has issued permits for more than 1,100 new ADUs,” said Elyse Lowe, department director. “Virtual appointments are making it convenient for customers to receive project guidance from DSD staff prior to applying for a building permit.”

To schedule a virtual meeting, customers can go to sandiego.gov/DSD and choose either a 30 or 45-minute appointment. Customers will receive an email confirmation with instructions and a link to join the meeting at the date and time requested.

— City News Service

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