5 Steps to Determine the Development Possibilities of a Residential Lot in San Diego

By Sean Canning

As a practicing architect in San Diego, one of the most common questions that developers ask me is 'how many Dwelling Units can I build on my lot'?  To understand the potential of an given lot in the City of San Diego there needs to be a fundamental understanding of the regulations.  In an effort to help, I've created a quick 5-step process to qualify most lots for potential architectural development.  

For information on lots within other cities San Diego County should start w/ this article.  

This process will work for most standard lot zones, however lots in Planned Districts may vary from these standard regulations.  One final note;  like all things that require Building Department approval, there are many exceptions / variations to these regulations.  The intent of this 5-step process is to be able to quickly qualify potential lots -but additional research is recommended prior to purchase.  

Find the zone of your lot here

Reference the zone of your lot to determine the maximum density per Dwelling Unit (DU) in Chapter 13 of the San Diego Municipal Code here

Basic (no overlay zones)

Transit Area overlay zone here

Parking Impact Area overlay zone here

Tandem Parking overlay zone here

Determine the maximum parking spaces your lot can accommodate using Chapter 14 of the San Diego Municipal Code here

Determine the maximum Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of your zone using the tables in Chapter 13 of the San Diego Municipal Code here

Use Table 142-05C here in the San Diego Municipal Code to determine what size Dwelling Units can be permitted for your project

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