San Jose Approves New Rules on 'Granny Units' - NBC Bay Area
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San Jose Approves New Rules on 'Granny Units'

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    San Jose Approves New Rules on 'Granny Units'

    San Jose leaders Tuesday night approved new rules to allow for more so-called granny units to help ease the housing crunch. Terry McSweeney reports. (Published Tuesday, June 19, 2018)

    San Jose leaders Tuesday night approved new rules to allow for more so-called granny units to help ease the housing crunch.

    For some homeowners, that means their backyard just became a gold mine.

    Mayor Sam Liccardo is hoping the less restrictive rules will result in 3,500 new housing units per year built in the backyards of existing homes. For homeowners, it means far more possibilities for their property.

    Resident Brian Thorn, who owns a home in the Naglee Park neighborhood of San Jose, said "it feels in a way like winning the lottery."

    "I think we’re going to have a one bedroom and have a kitchen and a bath and a washer and dryer," he said.

    The City Council's decision could open up a whole new rental market that would represent a windfall for property owners who would be allowed to rent out converted garages and backyard spaces.

    And for San Jose, it means a bit of a dent in the housing crisis.

    "If we can just get out of the way with the red tape and regulations; we’re waving a lot of requirements around setbacks and parking and height requirements," Liccardo said.

    With the new rules, lot sizes can be smaller, and backyard homes can be larger. The city’s hoping for several hundred new units each year.

    The mayor said the little homes can be built pretty quickly, and most homeowners are likely to be a little less demanding on rent.

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