While details are still being nailed down, the goal of the effort is clear.“We are working to try and address some of the key barriers that are preventing people from building second units,” Guhin said.“From our outreach efforts, we have heard loud and clear there is a demand for these type of housing units, and that updates to our policy will help make that happen.” State rules in effect The state Legislature got the ball rolling last year by passing new laws that eased parking requirements for units built entirely within the footprint of an existing home, such as the conversion of a bedroom or garage into a standalone unit.
That, she said, would limit her ability to rent the unit on Airbnb for extra income.“As you create your plan for our city, can you please think outside of the box and give homeowners more options rather than more restrictions,” Mc Nees wrote in her comments to city planners.
Mc Nees, who said she’s in the early stages of planning a 700- to 900-square-foot second unit, said her neighbor, a single mom, rents out a unit on Airbnb and no one had a problem with it.
They also eliminated costly water and sewer fees for such units. 1 and supersede local regulations, also boosted the limit on the size of granny units to 1,200 square feet, until local regulations are revised.
The state regulations have already led to the approval of two granny units at sizes never before allowed by the city — one off West College Avenue at 870 square feet and another off Highway 12 in east Santa Rosa at just over 1,000 square feet.
David Moll, a Junior College neighborhood resident who rents out a studio in his house on the vacation rental site, estimates there are about 70 Airbnb rentals within a 10-block radius of his property.
The massage therapist said he’s concerned the new regulations would strip him of his ability to rent out his second unit on a short-term basis, income that has become very important to him.“I agree there is a housing crisis, but there is also an income crisis in Sonoma County and Santa Rosa,” Moll said.Since 1995, the city has issued permits for about 600 second dwelling units, and it estimates there are an additional 2,000 to 3,000 unpermitted units in the city.A city proposal to create an amnesty program for such unpermitted structures in the late 1990s went nowhere.Meg Mc Nees loves her little home on a quiet street in Montgomery Village, and she would like to be able to live out the rest of her days there.But since it is her largest asset, the 67-year-old retired landscaper and her husband are worried they’ll be forced to sell their 1,200-square-foot bungalow to fund their retirement, especially health care costs.The updates are just one of several efforts the city is undertaking to boost housing production in general and affordable housing in particular.