By Eric Heinz 

As the state pushes for more affordable housing, San Clemente City Council on Tuesday night passed the first reading of an ordinance to give more flexibility to accessory dwelling units (ADU), also known as “granny flats.”

Council passed the new ordinance unanimously.

An example of an accessory dwelling unit. Photo: Courtesy of the city of Vallejo, California.
An example of an accessory dwelling unit. Photo: Courtesy of the city of Vallejo, California.

The city’s ordinance restricts ADUs from being more than 1,200 square feet, must have separate facilities and cannot be built in excess of more than 50 percent of the lot on which they’re constructed.

Councilmember Chris Hamm wanted to restrict owners from bifurcating their main property into repurposed separate units, as that could unintentionally increase the density of an existing unit, but the state will not allow for restrictions on repurposes, just on additions or separated units.

Councilmember Kathy Ward said she was concerned about the possibility of people turning these into short-term lodging units, or vacation rentals, as the city has tried to curtail those in the past. But city staff members said that can’t happen as they’re governed under a different set of laws.

The state’s Department of Housing and Community Development on Tuesday announced 47 cities had either been deemed out of compliance with the housing laws or were in review of their status. San Clemente is currently being reviewed.

 

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