Granny-flat laws, including 2016 CAA-sponsored bill, already having impact

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It appears that more granny flats are going up in California these days — and that legislation sponsored by CAA last year is helping drive that trend.

In 2016, the California Apartment Association sponsored AB 2299 by Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, a bill aimed at removing local barriers to adding second units on residential lots. AB 2299 and a similar bill in the Senate, SB 1069 by Sen. Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, both won the governor’s signature.

Under these bills, local governments lost the ability to mandate additional parking for second units, also known as accessory-dwelling units or ADUs, when the units are within one-half mile of public transportation or ride-share parking areas.

Proposals to encourage the construction of granny flats come amid California’s ongoing housing crisis. Building more ADUs is one way to bolster the supply of housing for California’s growing workforce. Without more housing, rental prices are likely to keep rising at levels that fuel calls for onerous government policies such as rent control.

This week, the website BuildZoom.com examined whether CAA’s granny-flats bill, as well as similar proposals at the state and local levels, have already prompted an uptick in construction of second units.

“A look at the initial impact shows that hundreds of new units are being planned for San Francisco, and fully utilizing backyards and other available spaces could mean thousands of future residences for California’s coastal cities,” the BuildZoom article says.

“We already see the new amendments making an impact across the state in cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, and Santa Barbara, where ADU applications have tripled since May. For San Francisco, the Department of Building Inspection estimates that as of August 8 of this year, 380 permits have been submitted to add an accessory dwelling unit since the program was expanded, of which 8 have been completed.”

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