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Wash Post: 'Granny Flats’ Play Surprising Role in Easing CA’s Housing Woes

State & local policies have made accessory dwelling units easier to build in recent years, and homeowners are signing up in droves

Source: Washington Post

... Multifamily properties are incredibly difficult to build in the state’s major cities for reasons including lack of space, environmental laws, andneighborhood opposition. But build an ADU — a small detached house with its own utilities and entryway — and practically no one bats an eye.Multiplied thousands of times over, as has been occurring in recent years, and the structures begin to look like an important, if only partial,solution to the state’s affordable housing needs.

“The ability to be able to remove barriers and support the creation of ADUs has been a very important strategy in our ability to expand the supply of housing,” said Lourdes Castro Ramírez, California’s secretary of Business, Consumer Services and Housing. “I’ve been very pleased to see how communities have embraced this approach, and I think that folks have been able to recognize the social, economic and community benefits of ADUs.”

The numbers tell the tale: More than 23,000 ADU permits were issued in California last year, compared with fewer than 5,000 in 2017 — whichwas around when ADU permitting began to take off thanks to legislative and regulatory changes in the state. The state now requires faster permitapproval by localities, and establishes that cities must allow ADUs of at least 850 square feet — though many are much bigger. A number of otherbills are being debated in Sacramento, including one by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D) that would allow property owners to sell their ADUs separately from their main houses.