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Pleasant Hill And Walnut Creek Consider Loosening In-Law Unit Restrictions

PLEASANT HILL -- Two East Bay communities are looking at in-law or "granny" units as a way to help ease the housing squeeze.

These Accessory Dwelling Units or ADUs are small structures typically under 1,000 square feet built on a homeowners property.

The Pleasant Hill City Council is considering a new ordinance Monday night that would expedite the permit process for in-law unit construction.

Homeowners could soon be able to rent out such units. A proposed ordinance will also give homeowners this the green light to go ahead and build in-law units more cheaply and with less red tape.

That idea is appealing to many homeowners like Linda Turner. She has lived in Pleasant Hill for 40 years and has the space on her property to build, but has held off because of the expensive and time-consuming permit process.

"Yes our lot is pretty big, so I definitely have room for it in the back," explained Turner.

Real estate attorney Matt Cody told KPIX 5 that streamlining the permit and approval process will help create more affordable housing.

"The idea is that this will generate housing supply. It wont solve the housing crisis. It will make it affordable," said Cody. "You could have a Garage that's converted at a price that is less than what you see in a large apartment building."

Turner can understand why some may prefer this kind of work not happen in their neighborhood. She says there has to be some rules and regulations.

"I like it as long as they aren't going to build two story apartments," said Turner.

Walnut Creek officials will discuss a similar ordinance on Tuesday evening.


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