CBS8: Neighbors in College East frustrated by ADUs towering over single-family homes

By Brian White for CBS8 News

SAN DIEGO — Neighbors in the College East area don’t like what they’re seeing as multiple, two-story accessory dwelling units (ADUs), are popping up in their neighborhood.

“This is what’s going up behind our property,” said Joe Newsome, who has lived on the 5100 block of 69th Street for twenty-five years. “It’s going to be an increase in the number of people per property, the amount of parking, traffic, noise, users of broadband internet.”

In front of Newsome’s home, more ADUs are being constructed on the property across the street. Daniel Shkolnik, CEO and founder of Atlas West Group, bought the property and started construction for three separate, two-story ADU structures, adding six total units to the property in addition to the single-family home already there.

“It means the integrity of the neighborhood that I’m in is going to get ruined,” said Dave Nicolai, who calls these ADUs ‘glorified apartment buildings.’

“Developers come in and buy a property, outbid families, and then they build eight units and add twenty cars. I don’t know how they can get away with it.”

Nicolai took CBS 8 into the backyard of a home, owned by a 93-year-old woman, which now has a tall shadow cast over the garden from the ADU’s next door.

“You see how ominous this is? It just towers over her house,” said Nicolai. Shkolnik is taking advantage of the City of San Diego’s Accessory Dwelling Unit Bonus Program. In a Transit Priority Area, for every deed-restricted moderate-income ADU he builds, he can add an additional market-rate ADU.

“We’re no longer in an arena where we can do greenfield or brownfield development, we’re out of land and so the only way we can really solve this housing affordability crisis is by repurposing existing land,” said Shkolnik.

ADUs under certain square footage are exempt from certain Development Impact Fees (DIFs) and neighbors think that is unfair.

“Once that goes up with its 18-20 residents, I have no idea how many, where are they all going to park? This whole area is just going to be lined with cars,” said Nicolai.

Shkolnik told CBS 8 that the property will have five to six off-street parking spaces. He said most of the same rules, such as setbacks and height limits, are the same for ADU construction as they are for the single-family homes in the neighborhood.

“We still have to abide by the same stringent building code, fire code, all those same things still apply. The only difference is we’re able to add more doors and house more people with the same amount of square footage,” said Shkolnik. “It might be a little uncomfortable for some people because it’s different and change is not always easy to adapt to.”


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