San Diego – Soon it will be easier to add granny flats

Lawmakers in Sacramento just made it a lot easier for homeowners to build a granny flat in their backyard, which some San Diego leaders think could help ease housing woes.

The legislation from state Sen. Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, takes effect in January. It was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last week.

“SB 1069 returns more power to homeowners and reins in some of the enormous fees and requirements levied by local agencies,” Wieckowski said in a statement.

Although building secondary units on property for elderly parents coined the term “granny flats,” real estate agents and lawmakers say rent is so high that just about everyone is trying to get in one nowadays.

The legislation says that as long as the granny flat meets current zoning guidelines, the homeowners can avoid having to get a conditional use permit.

Homeowners can get out of providing parking for granny units, which cannot exceed 1,200-square-feet, as long as it is within a half mile of public transit, if they are part of an existing primary residence or in an architecturally and historically significant district.

Local agencies would be blocked from charging connection fees for the granny flats for water and sewer service. Other requirements, such as adding fire sprinklers for small accessory dwelling units even if the primary residence doesn’t need them, are eliminated under the legislation.

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