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Manteca may encourage ‘granny flats’

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POSTED July 28, 2009 1:14 a.m.

You’ll find scores of low to moderate income rentals – and some owner occupied homes - tucked behind existing houses and off alleys in central Manteca.

They often are 500 square feet or less but handfuls built in recent years are in excess of 700 square feet. The rents usually are hundreds below more traditional homes sitting on lots of their own.

The proposed housing element update the Manteca Planning Commission will consider tonight include provisions for encouraging the so-called “granny flats” to generate more affordable housing within the city. The commission meets at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.
The goal is to create 75 more of the second units on suitable residential lots with existing homes by 2014.

The document indicates the city would promote the development of second unit dwellings by posting information on the city’s website regarding permitting requirements, changes in state law, prototype set plans, Internet resources, “how to” manuals, and list benefits of second units for property owners to access.

The California Legislature passed a granny flat law that went into effect July 1, 2003 that required cities to remove all roadblocks thrown up intentionally to prevent such homes from either being built or moving forward with relative ease.

The law was the result of research by the American Association of Retired Persons and the American Planning Association that determined cities erected barriers to build granny flats including requiring excessive parking, excessive fees, and review process that are longer than usual.
Santa Cruz has put in place a successful program that has resulted in the construction of a number of granny flats with an average of 500 square feet of living space built in studio format or in one-bedroom floor plan.

The housing study indicated Manteca needs to encourage the building of 2,188 affordable housing units by 2014 to meet a state mandated goal.
Among options identified that the city could encourage developers to build more affordable housing include:

•speeding up project processing times.

•providing funding and offer reduced fees for affordable housing developers.

•building mixed-use housing downtown close to transit.

•encouraging residential units above ground floor commercial in the central district.

•using redevelopment funds to pay for infrastructure such as water and sewer lines

•giving developers flexibility in building higher density units through changes in the zoning ordinance.

•allowing higher density development.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail

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