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Lathrop exempts granny flats from some growth fees
granny flat


The granny flats are coming.

With housing being a pressing issue throughout the State of California, the legislature has moved forward with requirements to ease the burden of building accessory dwelling units to help meet the rising demand.

Last month the City of Lathrop approved updates to the city’s existing policy and the municipal code to comply with new California law – effectively exempting accessory dwelling units of 750 square feet or less from capital facility fees and setting clear guidelines for the collection of fees in larger accessory dwelling units that qualify under the new rules. The smaller dwellings are sometimes called granny flats.

It was the latest in a series of steps that Lathrop has taken to both comply with emerging state laws and to provide an opportunity for alternative housing options in a community that is exploding with standard single-family homes that are sought-after by Bay Area commuters because of the proximity to major freeways.

In August of 2019 the council approved a number of changes pertaining to the calculation of connection charges and capacity fees for new dwelling units – changing existing policy that had classified them as new residential uses and thus requiring the full connection and capacity charges for essential utilities. By relaxing that regulation and others – including the required easements and setbacks that are required of new single-family homes – the city became compliant with new California law and created the possibility that homeowners and even developers can utilize lot space to house more than one family.

Detached accessory dwelling units started to become popular in some developments in the South County before the housing market collapse – with some Ripon developers including them as options that can be used either for multiple families or multiple generations of families living on the same lot.

According to the staff report prepared for the item that was approved by the council, interest in the units may be growing once again – in addition to compliance with new California law, the interest in the units and a growing number of applications prompted city staff to look closer at the existing guidelines and push to update Lathrop’s policies as they pertain to accessory dwelling units.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.