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L.A. to Granny: Not Happening

May 18, 1997|DIRK SUTRO

Granny flats in Los Angeles?

"There's not really much happening here," said Darryl Fisher, associate zoning administrator. "We've had very few actual applications."

Los Angeles allows second units, with kitchens, up to 640 square feet on single family lots, but Angelenos don't seem to want them in existing neighborhoods. Land for new tract housing is sparse and expensive, so home builders tend to maximize the size of each single-family home on each lot--leaving no room for accessory units.

"I've been in charge of the subdivision section for four years and there have been no new developments that incorporate granny flats," Fisher said.

Senior planner Gurdon Miller explained:

"Los Angeles is fairly conservative when it comes to land use. There's a historic commitment to protecting single-family neighborhoods. . . . So we complied with the state law that says we have to permit granny flats, but we made it fairly hard.

"Granny flats were touted as a wonderful way to increase housing, but the consequences weren't really part of the touting process. Essentially what you're saying is, on any given lot you're going to increase occupancy by a factor of a small household, which means one more car, at least one more person. In Los Angeles, the implications of that being widely done could significantly change the character of neighborhoods."

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