Why the New Companion Unit Regulations are Going to be Epic for Logan Heights

By Sean Canning

California's new Senate Bill 1069 is about to drastically change the dynamics of Logan Heights, San Diego. Here's why the up-and-coming neighborhood in the shadow of East Village will never be the same again.  

SB 1069 is an initiative from the State of California w/ the purpose of adding more housing to urban areas. The bill does this by drastically reducing the regulations on Accessory Dwelling Units like Companion Units + the newly added Junior Units.  

These small living units will now be permitted throughout most of the properties in Logan Heights. The areas most greatly affected by the change are lots within a 1/2 mile radius of mass transit stops. As you can see on the map below, this includes most of Logan Heights, including almost the entire Diamond District area.  

I've summarized the changes to San Diego's Municipal Code here.  

There are 2 significant changes that you should know about.  

1st, ADUs within that 1/2 mile radius will not have to provide off-street parking. This means that you can almost definitely build one on your lot.

The 2nd significant change is a drastic reduction of the City's fees to legally permit one of these units; from around $15,000+ to an expected flat fee of $2,000.  

Owners, renters, + future buyers, now is your opportunity.

If you're a property owner in Logan Heights, your property may have just gotten a little more valuable.  / the implementation of the new code you can probably build an an extra unit on your property. This unit could be used to generate extra rental income, as an in-law suite, or as a dorm for a college-bound child. A companion unit or junior unit would add resale value to your property too.  

If you're a renter, the additional housing stock should help control the rental explosion San Diego has been experiencing. Although how much is undetermined.  

If you're a potential buyer, particularly a young millennial looking to purchase a home, these changes offer your chance to jump into the housing market.  I've explained this in more detail here. The same thing applies for buyers who have limited income.  

Why this is epic for Logan Heights.  

I mentioned that our properties now have more development potential than they did before. This gives you the option to develop it further for the reason you see fit. You can make extra rental income to subsidize your mortgage payment, or you can have an elderly parent as a live-in nanny instead of paying for daycare. So this is really a regulation that supports family-living as well as provides a foothold for younger + lower income owners.

It will result in more people in Logan Heights, more density, + less street parking spaces. But in some cases people may be able to avoid driving certain places (like dropping the kids off @ daycare as previously mentioned). This will result in an even more walkable community in the long run, as a reduction of available parking + cars will encourage residents to support local businesses. There will also be more people around to support these businesses.  

In conclusion, the new companion unit regulations of SB 1069 come w/ new potential for our properties, more rental unit options, opportunities for homeownership, flexible housing, local business support, + walkable communities.  While there will be a reduction of available street parking, I think that's a small price to pay for the ultimate benefit to the neighborhood.  

If you are considering having a Companion Unit or a Junior Unit designed for you.  Please feel free to contact me for a consultation.  

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