Northern California Record

Sunday, December 15, 2019

BPE LAW GROUP: SB 821 — Attempting to Streamline Approval of Granny Flats

By Press release submission | Aug 12, 2018


BPE Law Group issued the following announcement on Aug. 7.

It is well known that California is currently in the middle of a massive housing crisis. The state is ranked 49th for housing development and it is estimated that at least 125,000 homes a year would need to be built to keep up with the demand.

The California legislature has been working hard at developing solutions to combat the crisis and one bill in particular may be an effective step towards fixing the problem. SB 821, authored by Senator Bob Wieckowski of Fremont and coauthored by Atkins, Skinner, and Wiener, addresses the tight regulations surrounding accessory dwelling units. Accessory dwelling units, otherwise known as “ADUs”, “Granny flats” or “In-law flats” have many restrictions regarding the size of the property, size of the ADU, and additional fees needed to build. These restrictions have led to roughly 200,000 illegal ADUs.

SB 821 seeks to remove these restrictions and offer property owners more freedom. The fees, including school fees, parks, traffic, and architectural review would no longer be necessary to build an ADU. Furthermore, the minimum lot size requirement would disappear so that effectively an ADU could be built anywhere where residential building is allowed.

Besides the removal of fees for building an ADU, SB 821 would grant a 10-year amnesty program for current ADUs that are out of regulations. This program would allow those ADUs that are not compliant with regulations to become compliant without any penalties. This would reduce any hazard or safety issues noncompliant ADUs might cause.

SB 821 also seeks to streamline the application process for building ADUs. It would require that a decision on the application of an ADU be decided within 60 days of filing. If no decision has been made by that time limit, then the application will be automatically granted.

This bill is beneficial in multiple facets. It eases up some of the red tape that homeowners would normally face and encourages the building of more dwellings. Building means more jobs and homes, which will help benefit the economy as well as ease the housing crisis California is facing. ADUs are less expensive to construct than new housing units, so renting out ADUs will provide affordable housing, which the state desperately needs. They also have minimal impact on traffic and neighborhood aesthetics.

Although SB 821 is not a cure-all, to which Senator Wieckowski has freely admitted, it is a building block towards progress. Productive legislation is a key component to helping fix the housing market.

Original source can be found here.

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BPE Law Group