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California legislators push for easier access to "Granny Flats"

Gov. Newsom has until Oct. 13th to sign or veto the bills
Posted at 6:59 PM, Sep 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-18 22:05:47-04

California legislators are pushing for a series of bills to pass Governor Gavin Newsom's desk in order to help the housing crisis in the state.

Assembly Bill 881, Assembly Bill 68 and Senate Bill 13 aim to make it easier for Californians to build accessory dwelling units (ADU).

San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon says Assembly Bill 881, which removes owner-occupancy requirements, would help lift current limitations on the community.

"You can only build an accessory dwelling unit if the home or the accessory unit are owner-occupied and since we have about 65% rentals in the City of San Luis Obispo, that excludes the vast majority of our properties from being able to build ADUs," Harmon said.

Assembly Bill 68 would limit cities' ability to say no when a homeowner files for permits to build second units, while Senate Bill 13 would eliminate or reduce the development impact fees cities charge for adding an in-law unit.

Erich Schaefer, CEO of Schaefer Custom Homes, says an ADU could cost a customer anywhere from $100,000 to $180,000.

"If it is well planned and well thought out and we see people doing quality projects, we can see a net benefit, but I think in all likelihood, there will be a lot of people trying to skirt the process or how to do it for less money," Schaefer warned.

He says he typically tells his customers to plan for a six-month application process before considering adding an ADU to their homes.

An ADU, sometimes refereed to as a "Granny Flat," is a secondary residential unit that shares a lot with an existing stand-alone home.

Governor Newsom has until October 13 to sign or veto the bills.