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Placer aims to increase affordable housing by easing secondary dwelling unit restrictions

April 05, 2016

Aiming to increase the county’s rental housing supply, the Placer County Board of Supervisors in March approved easing restrictions on secondary dwelling units

The approval is in response to the need for more affordable housing throughout the county. By making it easier for homeowners to accommodate young adults attending college, college graduates returning home and those providing care for aging parents, the hope is to ease pressure on a limited stock of affordable rental housing.

Secondary dwelling units can help individuals live an independent lifestyle and give family members peace-of-mind that their loved ones are nearby. Easing restrictions also creates income opportunities for homeowners who want to construct secondary dwelling units on their property, creating a wider selection for potential renters.

These units, commonly known as an in-law suite or granny flat, are permanent dwellings that are accessory to a primary dwelling on the same site. The dwelling may either be attached or detached from the primary unit and provides complete, independent living facilities such as living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation.

Guest and pool houses are not considered secondary dwelling units.

“The rental housing landscape is evolving as more and more families are wanting to provide on-site housing for aging relatives or children attending or returning home from college,” said District 1 Supervisor Jack Duran. “This is a smart way to meet the increasing rental housing demand by utilizing existing land without adding infrastructure."

The newly-revised ordinances will allow units ranging from 240 square feet to a maximum of 1,200 square feet on any size lot so long it is deed-restricted for affordable housing; reduce minimum allowable lot sizes from 10,000 square feet to 5,000 square feet; allow dwellings to be attached or detached on any lot regardless of the parcel’s acreage; require dwellings to be architecturally compatible to the primary residence; and establish a housing program to waive or reduce impact fees for secondary units that are deed-restricted for affordable housing.

The board’s decision does not apply to secondary dwelling units in the Lake Tahoe Basin as these parcels are subject to different Tahoe Regional Planning Agency ordinances.

 
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