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Affordable Accessories
Bertha Leone | Crest Road

Two proposals relative to Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JrADU) (i.e. within the primary residence) were approved by the Planning Commission in August and are slated to go before the City Council in September and October, followed by the Coastal Commission. The first involves changes to Del Mar’s Municipal Code to bring it into compliance with a new state law that was effective January 1, 2017. The second proposal is for a pilot program to test floor area bonus as an incentive for deed-restricted ADUs for affordable housing.

State law mandates that a city must forego discretionary review for a new ADU, that off-street parking cannot be required for an ADU within the primary residence or within half a mile of public transportation, and that neither the ADU nor the principal residence may be sold separately. Del Mar’s code is being modified to reflect these requirements.

Other guidelines are left to the discretion of each city. The revised Del Mar ordinance establishes that:

• the maximum allowable size of an ADU is 550 sq. ft. (including basement) and a JrADU is 500 sq. ft.
• there will be administrative-only review of ADU applications (essentially a checklist reviewed by city staff).
• ADUs are allowed in all residential zones except the RM South zone; JrADUs are allowed in all single dwelling unit zones; in the CVPP Specific Plan the ADU must be within an existing structure.
• the ADU must be rented for a minimum of 30 days at a time, except in the RC zone.
• the owner must reside in the primary residence.

In a continuing effort to mitigate the housing shortage in California, especially affordable housing, the state, for many years, has given each city a quota of affordable housing units. Existing housing in Del Mar does not meet the required affordability levels, therefore only ADUs/JrADUs with deed restrictions on the rent charged and income of renters count towards the quota.
Del Mar currently has two permitted ADUs but zero deed-restricted ADUs. Following the most recent state review of Del Mar’s results, the city was penalized with a 15 unit increase in its quota (for a total of 22) before the next state review in 2021.

The proposed pilot program has a duration of 2 years or 2 affordable units, whichever comes first, during which the city will incentivize property owners to apply by giving an FAR bonus of 500 square feet (added to the currently allowed FAR for the property) in return for a 30 year deed restriction requiring the ADU be rented at least 6 months per year and the rent charged not exceed low income based on 80% of the area median income (AMI). This translates to $50,950 for a one person household, $58,200 for a two person household. The FAR bonus will be subject to design review unless it is used to build an ADU. All other ADU requirements apply.

Another project, named “22 in 5” concurrently seeks to identify the potential for 22 affordable housing units in Del Mar within 5 years. With the help of consultants, existing housing stock is being assessed for acquisition, rehab or conversion, and available land is being considered for possible new development. The “22 in 5” project will come before the Planning Commission, City Council and Coastal Commission at a future date.



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