The ADU Grant Program Assists Residents of La Mesa, CA!

Have you considered building an Accessory Dwelling Unit in La Mesa, Ca? Learn everything about the ADU Grant Program and regulations in your city!

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Residents of La Mesa, California, this one’s for you!

Eliana Lerma

By: Eliana Lerma

As San Diego County continues to grow, cities inside the county are being affected as well. La Mesa is one of the cities affected by this growth. La Mesa is home to over 60,000 residents with a city area of only 9.2 sq miles. Due to the population increase, La Mesa does not have enough housing to satisfy the demand, and because of this, the cost of living has significantly increased. If you are a homeowner in La Mesa, I’m sure you are well aware of this. There are only so many homes to live in, and homeowners can’t afford to stay.


What happens now?




About ADU Grant Program


What does the grant cover?



What happens now?

Due to the obvious shortage of affordable housing, the state has taken initiative to increase the amount of housing as well as help homeowners afford living here. They are doing so by making it more affordable to build Accessory Dwelling Units. Alan Gin at the University of San Diego says, “The lack of affordable housing is the biggest problem now for San Diego’s economy. Building Accessory Dwelling Units would add more supply that is desperately needed.” Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are rising in popularity not only to assist in the affordable housing crisis, but also because of their many benefits to homeowners.

How do ADUs benefit homeowners?

Homeowners who build an ADU can rent it out to generate passive income as well as increase their real estate’s overall value for resale purposes. However, due to this recent inflation, building materials and construction costs have risen, and even though the investment is profitable, not every homeowner can commit to a project of this size. Austin Neudecker with Weave Growth says, “The city should incentivize additional accessory dwelling units to address the local housing shortage and affordability crisis. 

The government recognized these economic issues, and because of this, the state recently raised 100 million in grants to assist in the funding of ADUs across 52 counties in California.

ADU Grant Program - blog
What is the ADU Grant Program?

The ADU Grant Program has raised the grant amount to cover up to $40,000 of ADU project costs to each homeowner. This is enough to construct 2500 ADUs across the state. To qualify, homeowners in La Mesa must meet a few requirements: 

  • Household income cannot exceed $211,000/yr
  • The grant applicant must be the owner of the property
  • The property owner must plan to live on the property
  • The property owner must agree to rent out the newly built unit
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What does the grant cover? 

Each grant that is disbursed covers pre-construction, otherwise known as soft-costs. These costs are for anything leading up to the construction of your ADU. Some of these include: inspection, estimation, site prep, land surveys, soil tests, impact fees, architectural drawings, project design, and more! These are expensive services that a lot of homeowners do not consider when budgeting for their overall project, but don’t worry, the grant will cover $40,000 worth of these costs! Read this blog to see the services we provide that fall under the umbrella of pre-construction costs so you can better visualize what the grant funds will pay for.

La Mesa by the numbers:

Average property value: $571, 400

Average income: $89, 585

Estimated construction cost per sqft for prefab built ADUs: $327-$385

Estimated construction cost per sqft for site built ADUs: $370-$435

Is building an ADU worth it in La Mesa?

If you own property in La Mesa and decide to create extra living space through the form of an ADU, it will not be difficult to rent out the unit. Let’s take a look at the average rental costs in the area. The average rent of a studio apartment in La Mesa is $1,600. The average rent of a 1-bedroom apartment is $2210, and the average cost of a 2-bedroom apartment is $2831. It’s safe to say building an ADU and renting out the unit is a very profitable investment here in La Mesa with its close proximity to the city of San Diego. Read this article to learn more about the return of an ADU investment.

La Mesa ADU Regulations: 

Planning ahead before building is important for the feasibility of your project. Below, you will find basic information about the ADU regulations in La Mesa.

Allowed locations: You can usually have an ADU on your property if residential uses are allowed, but there may be exceptions. You must have an existing or proposed single-family home on your property or an existing multi-family building. 

Minimum lot size: There are no minimum lot size restrictions. The property can be any size and be eligible for an ADU.

Number of ADUs allowed: If you have a single-family home, you can usually build one or two ADUs on it. On multi-family properties, how many ADUs are allowed depends on what kind of ADU is built and how many units are already there.

Minimum/Maximum building sizes:

Junior Accessory Dwelling Units:

  • Minimum 150 square feet
  • Maximum 500 square feet

Accessory Dwelling Units:

  • Detached: Up to 1,200 square feet
  • Attached: The minimum size of an ADU must be 150 square feet, and the maximum unit size could be 50% of the gross floor area of the primary dwelling or at least 850 square feet for units with one or fewer bedrooms and 1,000 square feet for units with two or more bedrooms


Front Yard: ​

  • Must be consistent with the requirements of the underlying zone.

Side Yard: 

  • For Accessory Dwelling Units with a height of 16 feet or less, side setbacks shall be

4 feet or consistent with the requirements of the underlying zone.

  • For Accessory Dwelling Units with a height over 16 feet, side setbacks for the portion

of the building that is higher than 16 feet shall be consistent with the setback

requirements of the underlying zone. 

Rear Yard: 

  • For Accessory Dwelling Units with a height of 16 feet or less, rear setbacks must be

4 feet or consistent with the requirements of the underlying zone.

  • For Accessory Dwelling Units with a height over 16 feet, rear setbacks for the portion

of the building that is higher than 16 feet must be consistent with the setback

requirements of the underlying zone. 


Generally, conversion ADUs and junior ADUs don’t require any parking. Attached and detached ADUs will require 1 parking space, unless your project qualifies for an exemption from the parking requirements.

Considering building an ADU in La Mesa?

If you are a homeowner in La Mesa and think you may qualify to receive this grant, consider applying for the ADU Grant Program! Applying is entirely free, and so is booking a consultation with one of our ADU experts. We can discuss the details of your project goals, the financing options, and see if you’re eligible to receive up to $40,000 off your Accessory Dwelling Unit! 

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