Neighbors Pressure City to Cite Developer for ADU Violations in Talmadge Multi-Unit Project

by on April 12, 2022 · 12 comments

in San Diego

By Paul Krueger

Spurred to action by vigilant neighbors, city inspectors have cited a local real estate developer for violating building codes in the construction of a controversial ADU (accessory dwelling unit) project in the Talmadge area.

Patrick Clark, who manages “REIG Asset Management,” converted a single-family lot with adjacent garage into multi-unit rental complex.

Clark — who is based in Bonsall — purchased the property for $635,000 in October, 2019. He immediately converted the home to a four-bedroom, four-bath “mini-dorm” that rented for $6,000 — an average of $1,500 per bedroom and bath, with a shared kitchen and no parking.

Clark then rebuilt and expanded the garage and backyard into a  two-story, four or five-bedroom, two-bath ADU, with a projected rent of $7,000 a month, or $1,400-$1,750 for a bedroom with shared bath and kitchen. Plans called for just two off-street parking spaces for eight or more residents. The backyard was stopped of vegetation, and no replacement shade trees were required anywhere on the property.

City-issued trash recycling bins indicate that Clark is taking advantage of the city’s “free” trash and recycling pick-up for homeowners, even though the eight- or nine-unit project is more accurately defined as a apartment building, which requires owners to pay for private trash collection.

This residential compound is now on the market for $2.3 million dollars. Simple math confirms REIG Asset’s investors could turn a quick, million-dollar-plus profit on a project that provides no very-low or low-income housing and does nothing to promote the racial and or class “equity” or “fairness” which our mayor and city council repeatedly insist are a major benefit of more density in existing single-family neighborhoods.

But making a more-than-healthy windfall profit while contributing nothing to the city’s dwindling supply of low- or even moderate-income housing apparently wasn’t enough for REIG Asset Management.

After the project passed its final inspection, vigilant neighbors noticed that workers were tearing holes in the walls of the ADU, adding more plumbing fixtures and changing the building’s layout to increase rentable space.

Volunteers with Neighbors For A Better San Diego and at least one nearby homeowner alerted city inspectors to these illegal alterations, and made repeated requests for a re-inspection.

On April 8, the city’s Code Enforcement Division issued a “Civil Penalty Notice and  Order” that cites four code violations related to the surreptitious remodeling. In addition to the “removal and reconfiguration” of a wall to add unauthorized plumbing fixtures and “converting storage areas into habitable space,” the developer also fenced off a portion of the driveway required for two off-street parking spots.

While welcomed by neighbors, this enforcement action doesn’t appear to threaten the developer’s quick-turn profit.

According to the notice of violation, REIG Asset Management has until July 25 to restore the ADU to its approved plan or get approval for the unpermitted work and pass another inspection. The developer must also remove the fence that blocks the required off-street parking.

But thanks to activist neighbors and responsive building inspectors, word will hopefully spread in the development community that there’s at least some risk to making illegal modifications designed to maximize density and profits.

Equally important, this incident highlights the immediate need for sensible revisions to the city’s ADU Ordinance.

City codes must — at a minimum —  limit the number of units allowed in single-family neighborhoods and require the payment of Development Impact Fees, the replanting of mature shade trees to expand the city’s urban tree canopy, reasonable off-street parking, and study the immediate and long-term impact of these multi-unit projects on our city’s woefully inadequate infrastructure.

Learn more about the need for common-sense revisions to the ADU ordinance, and how you can help this effort at

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Gregg Sullivan April 12, 2022 at 10:50 am

I’m on your side on this but it’s not an apartment building. I would call it a duplex. It’s not a mini dorm. It’s a house with 4 bedrooms and 4 baths. They would each need a separate entry and have their own kitchen to be an apartment. Separate entries with shared kitchen would be a collective. Anyhow I agree it doesn’t provide for affordable housing and social equity. They should not be allowed to get it waived through a new permit. Code enforcement should force them to comply to the original design.


Paul Krueger April 13, 2022 at 9:46 am

Thx for clarifying, Gregg, and for taking time to voice your support for our efforts to sensibly revise the city’s ADU ordinance!


Angie April 12, 2022 at 12:51 pm

$1500 for a room?? My daughter pays $1000 for a room plus utilities. She makes above minimum wage, but still has to drive for a delivery service just to survive every month.
Who can afford these ridiculous prices?
I live in El Cajon so I don’t have a say in the city, but San Diego still feels like my city.
I hope those neighbors continue to stay on top of this situation and other neighborhoods do the same.


bobo April 12, 2022 at 1:26 pm

Think that’s bad? We have some absurd and sketchy stuff going on right here in OB.
I would love the ‘Rag to do a story on 2077 Cable Street. The new owners there parked 3 trailers in the back yard, built them into the property and look like their renovating them as apartments. No permits. No foundation. No off-street parking, multiple structural, safety and other violations and no action from the City to stop it. I’ve reported it as a code violation months ago and have been ghosted by the City’s inspector. I guess it’s time for me to install an aluminum shed in my back yard and AirBnB it for $5K a month!


Greg April 13, 2022 at 11:52 am

Is that what’s going on? That property had an approved permit for a two-story garage+units on top and I assumed they were building that. I was very confused when I saw all those weird looking trailer structures on the property.


bobo April 13, 2022 at 12:24 pm

Greg, the owner who originally got those permits and had designed an appropriately scaled place, ended up selling the property before he started construction.
The new property owners are the culprits. They’re not using the previous owner’s plans and I can guess they didn’t want to apply for a new permit.


Greg April 13, 2022 at 3:05 pm

I thought about offering on that home and saw all the associated documents. I’m just shocked someone purchased it, ignored the already gotten permits, and plopped sketchy looking trailers in the backyard. Are they occupied? That’s nuts.


Molly April 12, 2022 at 3:21 pm

Until 10-12 students, each with a vehicle with nowhere to park, and no sense of what day the trash should be taken out (for weeks)… move into this home… it is not a mini-dorm.


Pat April 13, 2022 at 8:33 am

The City has no idea how many mini dorms, ADU’s, Air BnB’s, companion units, lofts with kitchen, granny flats, room additions with kitchenette, or any other adjective meaning the same thing the City has, because a new clever name to call their STR (short Term Rental) pops up routinely. So we have a community of transient occupants and who knows if they are parolees law enforcement is looking for, or are they predators who will hunt down a nearby victim, then their gone. And if those negatives are not enough, they are also cutting out the people who work in the hotel industry. Not to mention the City’s loss of TOT revenue (Transient Occupancy Tax). The City has done a huge disservice to the day in day out residents.


kh April 13, 2022 at 11:06 am

What loss of TOT? Every hotel room and every Airbnb/VRBO listing in the city pays TOT, and has been for years. The lodging industry is very much demand-driven, there are few barriers to providers other than the ordinary development process for construction (if any).


FrankFitz April 15, 2022 at 7:37 am

That’s a pretty egregious violation of the building code.

But I had to laugh at this statement: “to promote the racial and or class “equity” or “fairness” which our mayor and city council repeatedly insist are a major benefit of more density in existing single-family neighborhoods.”

Ain’t nothing fair or equitable about a denser single family neighborhood. To pack people on top of each other in an established neighborhood is wrong.


kh April 15, 2022 at 1:54 pm

Density/ upzoning is a code word for gentrification. Older, developed communities of long-term renters are the easiest targets for this. The lobbyists and politicians create incentives to build high density market-rate units which enriches the property owners and developers, and the campaign coffers of the electeds, all at the expense of often elderly fixed income and minority renters.

And we call it “equity” but it’s really just equity in their investment portfolio.


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