Newport Beach gives first OK to ‘granny flats’ in some neighborhoods to increase housing – Orange County Register

NEWPORT BEACH — In an effort to comply with a new state law intended to increase affordable housing by making it easier to build accessory units, Newport Beach is looking to get rid of restrictions on secondary homes.

In a 7-0 vote on Tuesday, July 25, the City Council approved changes to the zoning code and local coastal program to give homeowners in single-family zones the opportunity to construct accessory dwelling units – also known as granny flats – or convert existing space within a structure on their property into livable facilities. The council will take a final vote at a later meeting.

The city had banned ADUs, except for residents 55 and older.

“This is a low-cost option that allows for a private property owner to develop accessory dwelling units on their property and would allow them the incentive of collecting rent,” said Jaime Murillo, senior planner for the city. “It would allow for kind of a below-market-rate rent opportunity for students or elderly or young families.”

The law does not mandate landlords charge fair or below-market rent for the units.

A previous state law gave cities the freedom to enact restrictions on ADU’s. The new law supersedes Newport Beach’s ban.

An estimated 18,836 Newport Beach homeowners are eligible to repurpose existing space on their property into a dwelling. Another 13,126 can do the same, but also have the option to construct new units on their property. Both types of dwellings would be approved administratively and must meet city building codes.

Homeowners’ associations would still have the discretion to not permit accessory units within their borders.

City staff proposed the lots be at least 5,000 square feet for newly constructed units, which is the minimum for most single-family zones.

That makes homes in the Balboa Peninsula, Corona del Mar and older parts of the city ineligible, which have smaller lots and would lead to parking and privacy issues, Murillo said.

Dwellings created or converted…

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