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San Diego City Council Makes It Cheaper To Build ‘Granny Flats’

Christine Minnehan sweeps up in front of her

Credit: AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

Above: Christine Minnehan sweeps up in front of her "granny flat" located in the backyard of her Sacramento, Calif home Thursday, June 27, 2002.

The San Diego City Council on Monday voted unanimously to waive certain fees for homeowners who want to build "granny flats," or small companion apartments that are not attached to the existing home.

The goal is to encourage homeowners to build these extra spaces, which would in turn increase the city's housing supply.

The council voted to waive Development Impact Fees, Facility Benefit Assessment Fees and General Plan Maintenance Fees normally charged for building dwelling units.

RELATED: San Diego Set To Make It Easier To Build ‘Granny Flats’

Mayor Kevin Faulconer also requested that $100,000 from the Public Utilities Department be set aside to cover the cost of water and sewer fees for the rest of this fiscal year.

"One of the fastest and least expensive ways we can increase affordable housing in San Diego is to make it easier to build granny flats," Faulconer said in a statement. "With these new incentives, we’re removing barriers to encourage the construction of new units that San Diegans can actually afford. This will be another tool we’ll use to tackle our housing needs."

The proposal was brought to the council by Councilman Scott Sherman. He said in a statement that granny flats "provide a great housing option in the city that we desperately need."

There are several advantages to encouraging granny flat construction, according to a city staff report from last year. The flats can be cheap and easy to build, have lower carbon footprints, bring in extra money for homeowners, encourage walking and public transportation if they are built in the right areas, and most importantly ease the crunch on the city's housing supply.

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