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Ripon updates rules for accessory dwelling units
A granny flat built in Southern California. - photo by Photo Contributed

The Ripon City Council approved changes to the Accessory Dwelling Units, bringing it into compliance with changes in state laws.

At their March 9 meeting, elected leaders supported the Planning Commission's recommendations on the ADU ordinances — also known as granny flats or mother-in-law quarters — eliminating the two-story structures while adding verbiage of numerical addresses to the backyard units.

The latter would help the Ripon Consolidated Fire District in locating ADUs or junior ADUs.

"In 2017, the state changed the requirements of more affordable housing and then changed the (ADU) guidelines," Planning Director Ken Zuidervaart said.

Changes in recent years also addresses the state's housing shortage with affordable options for seniors, young adults and those affected by the housing crisis.

Council agreed with the Planning Commission's section on excluding the two-story ADUs. "The two-story provision included restrictions regarding windows facing into the neighbor's yards or houses," Zuidervaart added.

ADUs would also be required to meet Single Family Residential setbacks. Mayor Daniel de Graaf inquired if that included alley-loaded lots with enough room to add an ADU on the street side of the house.

"Yes, but it would have to meet the street side setbacks," Zuidervaart said.

He noted that the intent for the updated changes is to make ADUs livable units and not vacation rentals.

City Attorney Thomas Terpstra does not believe the statue covers that.

He and his staff will examine the legislation again and have an answer in time for the second reading and adoption in an upcoming meeting.