City Council approves changes to ADU regulations in San Jose, California

On June 19, 2018, the City Council in San Jose, California, approved changes to ADU regulations that make it easer to build an ADU within the city. ADUs, or accessory dwelling units, are defined by the city as “small living units, including a kitchen and bathroom, on a property that has a single-family home.”

The city claims the the new policy will lead to multiple benefits, including increasing the amount of affordable housing in the community, providing homeowners with an income opportunity, encouraging public transportation, and providing a way for extended families or families with members who are disabled, to live closer together.

Some of the changes to the existing regulations include changing the minimum lot size necessary from 5,445 sf to 3000 sf, allowing an ADU in a second story, and allowing two bedrooms rather than just studio or one bedroom units.

http://sanjoseca.gov/adus

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Ambitious BIMBYs (Builder In My Back Yard) in San Diego, California

On January 5, 2016, Logan Jenkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune wrote about affordable housing and compared what is happening in the city of San Diego, to Portland, Santa Cruz, and Encinitas.

True or falseIf 10 percent of the homeowners in San Diego County added 450 square feet of separate living space to their properties, the affordable housing crisis would be largely over.

AnswerTrue, I think.

In Portland, Oregon anyone building a backyard house or granny flat faces no developer fees and the city has relaxed their strict covered parking rules, for such units.

Santa Cruz, California is offering homeowners who are willing to offer below-market rent on a new accessory dwelling unit, access to pre-approved architectural models, loans, and fee waivers.

And Encinitas, California is offering current owners of granny flats, an amnesty deal, if the cottages are up to code and available for 20 years at affordable rates.

The most powerful thing local government can do to make San Diego affordable for all generations is to figure out ways to get out of the way of ambitious BIMBYs (Builder In My Back Yard).

To read the article, go to: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/jan/05/solution-sd-housing-shortage-bimbys/

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500 sq. ft. In-Law Suite in Tampa Bay, FL

This 500 square foot tiny house on a foundation is located in the backyard of another house in Tampa Bay, Florida, and is meant as an in-law suite.

Home Care Suites is the builder, and they offer help figuring out the rules for accessory units for property located in the areas they serve, and also offer to help their clients meet all zoning requirements, including matching the siding and roofing to the main house.

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Legalizing ‘granny flats’ in Encinitas, California

On September 24, 2014, Jared Whitlock of the Encintas Advocate wrote about how the city of Encinitas in San Diego County, is looking to legalize any granny flats that were built or converted before the city’s incorporation in 1986.

Granny flats — so named by Australian builders constructing smaller backyard dwellings for homeowners’ elderly relatives — are considered a source of affordable housing. So, if a large number were to be legalized, the city would have to plan for fewer units.

The units have to meet building and fire codes, and include a kitchen sink and bathroom, to be eligible for the amnesty program. And the owner must agree for the unit to be “set aside in perpetuity for low-income residents.”

“It is recognized that many illegal units which were constructed prior to the incorporation of the city provide affordable housing that may not otherwise be available,” the city’s policy states.

For more information, go to: http://www.encinitasadvocate.com/news/2014/sep/24/Encinitas-program-granny-flats/

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500 sq. ft. Laneway House in Vancouver, BC, Canada

Wikipedia describes a laneway house as…

“a form of housing that is gaining popularity on the west coast of Canada, especially in the Metro Vancouver area. These homes are typically built into pre-existing lots, usually in the backyard and opening onto the back lane.”

Laneway houses were introduced to increase density in existing neighborhoods, and average about 550 square feet. Regulations typically require they be built behind an existing house, on the back-half of the lot. The hope is to retain the feel of a single-family neighborhood, while not compromising the privacy of the nearby neighbors, and to add much needed housing to the area.

One of the best laneway houses on the web was built by Smallworks in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and is 1.5 stories, and 500 square feet. Known as the West Coast Modern, it’s a beautiful tiny house, perfectly sized for a couple, and has a fairly large balcony next to the bed. The house also includes a one-car garage on the bottom half.

View Smallwork’s West Coast Modern laneway house!
http://www.smallworks.ca/gallery/wcm1/?portfolioID=57

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