Governor signs law to eliminate restrictions on granny flats


California homeowners wishing to build a secondary unit in their backyard now have to navigate fewer regulatory headaches from local government.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation on Tuesday that removes some building requirements for so-called granny flats.

The law provides a range of changes meant to hasten the building of secondary units in order to increase California’s affordable housing supply. For example, local governments can no longer demand that homeowners provide additional parking and an uncovered pathway to the street.

The law “returns more power to homeowners and reins in some of the enormous fees and requirements levied by local agencies,” said state Sen. Bob Wieckowski, a Fremont Democrat, in a statement on Tuesday.

The legislation, Senate Bill 1069, was sponsored by the Bay Area Council, a San Francisco-based business group. The council believes the law has the potential to create “thousands affordable, accessory dwelling units statewide without any taxpayer subsidies,” said council CEO Jim Wunderman in a statement.

“It’s a critical part of the solution to our state housing crisis,” he said.

The law takes effect in January.


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