Novato proposes changes to his in-laws’ apartment rules

Novato is considering changes that would offer new allowances to landlords looking to build apartments on their properties.

The changes were advanced by the Novato City Council in a unanimous vote on Tuesday to comply with several state housing laws passed since 2016, including several in recent years, in response to housing shortages across the country. the state.

“The state is seeing a statewide housing deficit,” Novato planner Steve Marshall told the board. “They are very aggressively looking at all options to produce more units in the state to fill a shortfall of nearly 2.5 million units over a five-year period. The Legislature looked at single family properties and residential property owners to meet some of these needs.

State laws regulate several aspects of these types of apartments, also known as “secondary suites,” ADUs, or step-parent apartments. The regulations cover size, parking and occupancy requirements.

State laws allow some local control over apartment sizes and whether to allow two-story versions.

The city council expressed support for allowing secondary suites up to 1,000 square feet, but not allowing new two-story ADUs.

Council did not support some Planning Commission recommendations made in September 2021 to allow up to 1,200 square feet of in-law apartments and to waive all parking requirements. The council expressed support for retaining a provision requiring landlords who convert garages into flats to create replacement parking.

The city is also proposing to allow single-family homes that are in areas zoned for other purposes — such as business and commercial zones — to create an apartment in existing space on the property, such as a converted garage. .

The changes will be sent back to the council for final adoption. The state’s Department of Housing and Community Development will have to decide whether or not to approve the city’s rules.

These in-law apartments act as a ‘lifeline’ both for people looking for affordable housing and for residents looking for extra income to stay in their homes, the mayor said Eric Lucan.

Novato and Marin as a whole are to build thousands of new homes in the coming years, much of which must be priced at an affordable level.

Councilor Pat Eklund recommended allowing secondary suites up to 1,000 square feet in size by state standards, as opposed to the 1,200 square feet recommended by the Planning Commission. A 1,200 square foot home would allow up to three bedrooms but would also likely be more expensive, staff said.

Board members expressed concern about allowing too large a size, particularly with regard to pricing.

“I believe we need to encourage smaller units because we want to bring in that affordability factor,” Councilor Denise Athas said.

Comments are closed.