Transport Priority Zones and ADUs Explained

Transport Priority Zones and ADUs Explained

San Diego, like many other cities, faces a pressing affordable housing crisis. The skyrocketing cost of housing has made it increasingly difficult for residents to find affordable and suitable housing. In response to this challenge, the city has implemented a series of innovative measures aimed at expanding affordable housing opportunities. Among these measures are Transport Priority Zones (TPZs) as related to Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). In this blog, OneStop ADU will examine this initiative and how it contributes to providing affordable housing options in San Diego.

ADUs, commonly known as granny flats or backyard homes, are self-contained secondary units that can be built on the same lot as a primary residential property. They provide an affordable housing option for homeowners and investors, while also increasing the available housing supply. Recognizing this potential, the city of San Diego has implemented certain regulatory changes to facilitate their construction. These include streamlining the permitting process, reducing fees, and relaxing some zoning restrictions. Homeowners now have more flexibility to convert their garages, build new standalone units, or repurpose underutilized spaces to create backyard dwellings. These measures not only make it easier for homeowners to add ADUs to their properties but also incentivize the construction of these units, thus increasing the availability of affordable housing in the city.

Transport Priority Zones (TPZs) are designated areas that prioritize transportation infrastructure and connectivity. By incentivizing housing development within these zones, the City of San Diego encourages the construction of affordable housing near transit hubs. Developers within TPZs are granted certain bonuses and exemptions to promote the inclusion of affordable housing units in their projects. These incentives can include additional density allowances, reduced parking requirements, or expedited permit processing. By granting these bonuses, the city encourages developers to add affordable housing options within TPZs, fostering economic diversity and benefiting a range of income levels.

In the City of San Diego, a hypothetical TPZ could be a designated area within a half-mile radius of transit stations that accommodate commuters. The purpose is to encourage residents to rely less on private vehicles and utilize public transport, reducing traffic congestion and carbon emissions while improving mobility. By concentrating efforts on this half-mile radius, the City of San Diego aims to promote transit-oriented development and increase affordable housing options within a short walking or biking distance from public transit. This strategy helps to ensure that residents have easy access to transportation services, reducing the need for long commutes and creating opportunities for more affordable housing near transit hubs.

It's important to note that the specific boundaries and characteristics of TPZs in the City of San Diego may differ in practice. The city's planning department, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, determines the parameters based on factors such as existing transit infrastructure, population density, and community needs.

By strategically implementing TPZs in relation to ADU construction, the City of San Diego can make substantial progress in addressing the affordable housing crisis while simultaneously improving transportation options for its residents. These efforts not only contribute to a more sustainable and equitable city but also pave the way for a vibrant and connected community.

To explore your ADU options, visit our website If you have any additional questions, or to schedule a feasibility study of your property, you can get in touch with us by phone at 858-437-8476, email at

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