Even though the Council majority gutted an attempt to loosen up the second unit ordinance late last year it appears that Alamedans who have the space might be able to build that granny flat after all. One of the big sticking points in Alameda’s ordinance was the parking requirement. The Planning Board made a recommendation that the units could accommodate the additional parking requirements through tandem parking since requiring side by side would take up more lot space. The City Council majority did not agree. Also the City Council appeared to want to throw in a lot more restrictive requirements including a limitation on how the property owner could use the unit, for example not as a vacation rental unit.
Under Wieckowski’s bill and a similar measure from Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), local governments will no longer be able to require homeowners to add parking for new granny flats near transit stops or have a large uncovered pathway to the street, and will limit fees for connecting the additional unit to water and sewer lines.
State lawmakers who have tried to encourage building such units for more than a decade as a way to address California’s soaring housing costs have expressed frustration with local government inaction.
Governor Brown is expected to sign the law, it will be interesting to see how this is implemented in Alameda. One of the things not mentioned in the LA Times recap is that the the bill would also reduce the maximum time the city can approve a unit by 30 days.