San Diego’s New ADU Law Will Destroy Our Queer Neighborhoods

by on August 18, 2021 · 4 comments

in San Diego

By Don Stanziano

Where we live and our quality of life is important to all of us.  The diverse communities of San Diego offer something for everyone. And our diverse LGBTQ community is no different. We’re not monolithic in where and how we choose to live.  Some of us want to live in the middle of the action in Hillcrest while others prefer a quiet street in Azalea Park or near Morley Field.

Our community, once concentrated in Hillcrest, has expanded  throughout the region, and especially across mid-city and we have played an important and significant role in the continued success and vibrancy of these communities.

But if you live in a single-family home anywhere in San Diego, your neighborhood may soon be unrecognizable.  That’s because a little-known change in the zoning code passed last October (when we were all distracted by a global pandemic and an important presidential election), essentially eliminated single-family zoning across the city.

You see, these new city regulations encourage the rampant expansion of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) on single-family lots.  These are not typical granny flats.  An ADU and a Junior ADU were already allowed on any property prior to this action.

San Diego has gone well past that and now encourages an unlimited number of studios and apartments built on a single-family lot, 30-feet high and no property line setbacks.  Your neighbor’s home could go up for sale tomorrow and if bought by an investor/absentee landlord, this could be next door to you soon.  It’s already happening in Talmadge and the College Area.

What’s worse, there are no requirements for infrastructure funding from the new property owner — so no improvements to roads, parks, sidewalks.  There is no parking required, which means more cars parked on your street.  There is no environmental review.  And no requirement to inform neighboring property owners of what’s planned.

This was enacted by then-Mayor Kevin Faulconer and the entire city council, but Mayor Todd Gloria and several council members including Council President Jen Campbell are listening to our concerns, and appear open to making reasonable revisions to this poorly written ordinance.  Our LGBTQ elected leaders need to hear from members of OUR community on this issue. Tell them you want it changed.

Neighborhood groups have organized to ask for sensible limits on this “granny tower” regulation that address environmental, traffic, design and other legitimate concerns.  For more information or to join us, please visit

Tell Mayor Gloria, Council President Campbell, Council-member Whitburn and your local council member that you want them to roll back this poorly written ordinance before our neighborhoods are ruined forever.

Don Stanziano is a resident of Kensington

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam August 18, 2021 at 3:48 pm

I don’t understand what the queer angle is here. Are you saying that gay people are the only constituency that elected gay officials will listen to? Why will this legislation only destroy gay neighborhoods? Doesn’t this apply citywide? Why would “straight” neighborhoods be immune to this?


Judd August 19, 2021 at 9:01 pm

Yeah, sorry but there’s a housing crisis in San Diego. The only way this crisis will ever be solved is if single-family zoning is eliminated. Single-family homes are completely unreasonable given the magnitude of the housing crisis.


Sam August 19, 2021 at 10:11 pm

That is a ridiculous argument. Adding ADU housing at market rate will do absolutely nothing to make housing more affordable. The only thing that will happen is everybody’s neighborhoods are going to be over run with people who shouldn’t be in those neighborhoods to begin with. Take your crocodile tears somewhere else Mr. Buidler executive guy!


Real Reader August 19, 2021 at 9:27 pm

Public Housing is the solution, trillions to war is a waste. The trickle-down upzoning and pack em and stack em is ridiculous, capitalistic confinement even of creativity, enlisting “progressives” in service of real estate values, it is fascinating to see it in real-time. Government-funded and created public housing at real levels of AMI affordability. All the rest is property land value real estate capitalism with a gauze of fake green and equity etc. One could add pool taxes, third home taxes etc etc, but the zoning canard is a canard.


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