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Friday, Jul 19, 2024
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City Attorney Steps Into the Mini-Dorm Spat

The fight to control the spread of mini-dorms in the neighborhoods around the San Diego State University campus has prompted City Attorney Michael Aguirre to seek tighter residential zoning regulations.

Aguirre asked the city’s Development Services Department on April 13 to start evaluating mini-dorm projects as multi-family residences.

He stated that “when a single-family dwelling is expanded such that its impacts are equivalent to a multi-family dwelling, as in the case of mini-dorms, then the appropriate regulations must follow.”

Aguirre’s office has written a questionnaire to be used to determine if expansion or renovation of a single-family home will result in a single-family home becoming a multi-family dwelling.

The questionnaire will ask applicants seeking remodeling permits about the number of existing bedrooms in their project, the number of proposed bedrooms, the number of occupants to live in the new residence and how many cars they will have.

The questionnaire also includes reminders about the building codes, including a state housing code that requires at least 70 square feet for each bedroom and another code that requires the owners of converted homes to purchase a business rental tax certificate from the city treasurer’s office before renting.

Aguirre also reported that the owners of two Pacific Beach properties slated to be converted into mini-dorms have agreed to halt conversions. The owners are Ian Sells and Michael Haaland of W.T. Haaland Realty and Millenium Construction.

Noting they have been associated with the conversion of other properties in the SDSU neighborhood, he asked the two to stop converting houses into mini-dorms throughout the city.

Aguirre said he would ask the City Council to consider proposed amendments to the local building codes to address issues surrounding the mini-dorm fracas.

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