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What Are the Impact Fees for ADU Conversions in San Diego County?

Crazy Impact Fees for ADU Conversions in San Diego County

Today I want to examine the fees that we keep running into for an ADU project, and review why the county of San Diego is charging this fee. This scenario is uncommon. We have had some difficulty getting answers from the county on determining their plans as far as charging us.

If you build an ADU in the county, investigate this. It looks like the county is waiving the impact fees, similar to the TIF fees, park fees, and even septic fees for typical ADU builds. Septic fees include your septic layout and permit.

Building a Primary Residence with ADU Conversion

Typically, customers add an ADU to their property which already has a single-family dwelling as the primary dwelling. In this situation, impact fees, park fees, and septic fees are waived. A current home we are ready to build just had the permit issued from the County. In this instance, however, the existing home will convert into the ADU, and the new build will become the primary dwelling. The existing ADU conversion is about 1,200 square feet, and the new home will be 2,500 square feet.

San Diego County Changes to Waived Accessory Dwelling Unit Fees

After much back and forth, the County is saying that we get to pay the impact fees because we are converting this structure. They are using the verbiage that says the ADU must have an existing single-family dwelling, and then you add the ADU to waive these fees. In our case, they decided to reduce the fees. The County is charging the reduced Park fees at $3,723 instead of the nearly $7,500. This scenario has been labeled as the ADU Park Improvement Fee instead of a Single-Family Dwelling Park Improvement Fee. 

The septic layout and permit fees roughly came to $2,300. The TIF fee (Traffic Impact Fee) for this lot in Ramona was set at $2,635.50. These are reduced fees and they’re based off the normal cost of the single-family dwelling, which would probably be closer to the $4,000 range. The amounts will vary based on the village and non-village areas.

Working to Understand Impact Fees for ADU Conversions

The County is taking advantage of this situation, even though the end product is a completed ADU on the property. If you built this same 2,500 square foot project in the reverse order, ADU second, they would waive those fees. We are trying to understand their reasoning, and although they have given us a discount, we do not believe it is at an appropriate amount.  If you run into this scenario, converting an existing family home to an ADU, and then building the primary residence, factoring in those additional fees is important. This amount adds up to nearly $10,000 of additional fees.

Home Building Resources for San Diego County

Hopefully, this is helpful information if you plan to build a similar project. If you’d like more information on building an ADU, building a home, or buying land, review our website and resources page. Thanks a lot and have a great rest of your day.

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