(Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group) MENLO PARK — Erin Craig and Rich Dvorak knew it was time: Their grown daughter, who has severe disabilities, needed her own home. They decided to build a private studio for Kim — a separate apartment inside the family home in Palo Alto, where they had lived for 25 years.But Palo Alto has notoriously strict zoning rules for add-on units.But city officials estimate that there are as many as 2,721 illegal secondary units in San Jose neighborhoods, not all of them up to code.The city issued just 13 permits for secondary units last year. Jerry Brown in September coupled with changes approved by San Jose leaders will soon make it easier for people to build these accessory units — often called “granny units” — on their properties.
Chapple is a UC Berkeley professor and affordable housing expert, and had the tiny 400-square-foot “granny” unit built five years ago.If just 10 percent of the Bay Area’s 1.5 million owners of single-family homes were to create granny flats for family members or other tenants, that would add 150,000 new units — most of them affordable — to the region’s infamously tight housing supply.So says a growing number of affordable housing advocates — as well as a number of state legislators, who have proposed bills requiring municipalities to cut red tape and speed up permitting for this class of small, rentable dwellings, which can include backyard cottages and apartments within homes.The changes, approved by the City Council last week, will help residents including Michael Lerner who’s building a tiny cottage in his backyard for his 20-year-old son.“Many millennials are not ready to push out into the world,” said Lerner, 54, who owns a home repair business. This will provide my son a way to live off of the property after I’m gone by (him) being able to rent out the front while living in the back.” The 10-by-12-foot home Lerner started building six months ago meets current building requirements.