I'm thinking of building a house on the back of my OB lot

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Submitted by gzz on November 20, 2012 - 1:39am

I have one of the very few small houses on big lots left.

Looking at the zoning regulations, the biggest I could go (while keeping the existing house) is 30 feet high and 3600sf, of which a bizzarely high 1085sf must be devoted to garage space.

So how much do people think this might cost, namely a 3 floor building, with a 1085 sq foot garage at the base and 2nd and 3rd floors about the same size?

The reason I want to go with 3 floors is that it would allow for an ocean view, and also preserve more yard space.

I don't have any desire for luxery features or a specific layout, except I don't like the squared beige stucco style.

Maybe the easiest thing is to go to someone who specializes in Mission Beach new structures.

Submitted by Hobie on November 20, 2012 - 8:40am.

Curious how do they figure 1085 sqft of garage? Of course, if this indeed the required size you can design it to later be 'remodeled' into the adjacent room.

I suggest chatting with a civil engineer first about the foundation. This size garage would require some beefy footings, metal fab beams, etc. Keep us posted.

Submitted by UCGal on November 20, 2012 - 10:05am.

Is your lot zoned for mult-family or will you be removing the existing smaller home? Never mind - I just read that you're keeping the existing house.

The 30 feet high is part of the code to protect views, etc. They are very strict about it. One of the contractors we interviewed talked about having to measure to the inch to get the railings on top of his roof deck within that 30 feet. Just squeaked in... and yes - the inspectors specifically measured that.

Submitted by UCGal on November 20, 2012 - 10:10am.

One more thing - if you want the name of an architect who does a lot of residential work in OB and Point Loma, send me a PM and I'll give you the contact info. I'm not sure how expensive he is... but if you're into sustainability, etc... he's LEED certified.

Submitted by spdrun on November 20, 2012 - 12:40pm.

Design the gar(b)age to be able to be surreptitiously converted to living/rental space after the town inspectors are done spooging over the final build. 1085 sf in a place where a lot of people street-park is absurd.

Submitted by LuckyInOC on November 20, 2012 - 1:52pm.

spdrun wrote:
Design the gar(b)age to be able to be surreptitiously converted to living/rental space after the town inspectors are done spooging over the final build. 1085 sf in a place where a lot of people street-park is absurd.

1085 sf / 25' = 43' / 2 = 21.5'
This is about the size of two 2-car garages.
25' x 21.5' each.

Probably for the tenants in the two 1085 sf units above. This doesn't seem obsessive. You could make two 1-car garages for the tenants and one 2-car garage for yourself and convert it to a shop or something else.

Lucky in OC

Submitted by Hatfield on November 20, 2012 - 9:48pm.

Our house is a two-on-one in OB. The original house was a 1929 beach cottage built straddling two lots. (In OB the standard lot is 25' wide and curb to alley in depth, typically around 150'). In the late 80s a second house was built and the city required a four car garage to provide off street parking. If you drive up and down the alleys in OB, particularly at the south end of OB you'll see lots of houses like this. It sounds like you're being subject to the same rules.

And yes, there's no getting around the height limit. However, IIRC they measure from the highest point on the lot, so the effective height depends a lot how your lot is graded and the house position relative to that grade. You do see three stories in OB but they're not common. You see a lot more rooftop decks on top of two stories because your limit is set at the deck railing.

Submitted by gzz on November 24, 2012 - 3:19pm.

Thank you everyone for the replies!

I am building on the bottom of a sloped lot. I'd say front to back is about 12 feet sloped, so it seems like I might be able to do 36 feet high if the roof is measured from the midpoint. I don't see the need for 4 floors or huge ceilings, but nice to know anyway.

Yes I've seen the alleys lined with 3 and 4 car garages and apartments underneath.

My zoning is r 2-4, lot is 6200, and current house is about 700 sq feet. That means I can actually build 2 more units for 3 total. Permitted sq feet is 6200 times .7 and parking must be 25% of that. Since I intend on living here I won't be doing that. Probably if I sold my house that would be the logical thing for a developer to do, I don't know there if there are people other than me that want such big house around here.

I don't know if I can afford LEED but I do like the brick glass and wood look of such buildings. I also like some of the older 3 floor mission beach houses. The newer stucco and glass ones feel too modern and sterile.

Submitted by spdrun on November 24, 2012 - 3:22pm.

LEED is just a cult methodology -- you can design for efficiency without hiring a "Kool-Aid swilling" architect.

Submitted by UCGal on November 24, 2012 - 3:40pm.

I agree with this. And even with an architect that is leed certified... not all projects he or she does need to be leed. The accounting / paperwork add to the cost and it's probably not practical on a budget oriented residential project - even if you incorporate some of the green ideas like efficiency, reuse, and liveability (light, air quality, etc.).

disclaimer, our granny flat incorporated ideas that would have qualified it to be a leed project... but we did that because it made sense... and never bothered with the certification.

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