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New Housing Law Eases 2nd-Unit Restrictions

June 07, 2003

Re "The 'Granny Unit' Option for a Rental-Squeezed L.A.," Opinion, June 1: Gregg Goldin fails to mention AB 1866, effective July 1, which is the recent attempt by the Legislature to correct the lack of rental housing in California. This bill mandates that all municipalities and counties ease restrictions on second units in residential areas (R-1) regardless of present zoning laws and without any public hearing. These units take only over-the-counter approval and can be rented to anyone, not just family members.

AB 1866 in effect takes away R-1 zoning restrictions from local ordinances. Any area without specific codes, covenants and restrictions prohibiting these units can have a second unit built without public knowledge beforehand. This bill allows the irresponsible homeowner to build a structure that could have an adverse effect on property values. I strongly urge that we withhold its implementation and rewrite it with local restraints.

Dick Smullen

Santa Ynez, Calif.


Those of us who live in R-1 neighborhoods invested time and money precisely because they are primarily owner-occupied single-family dwellings. The granny units Goldin champions would not be filled with family members, the elderly or the disabled, who would provide "an increased sense of security." Instead, this change would be tantamount to rezoning to R-2, and duplexes masquerading as granny units would sprout like weeds, the traffic and parking would go from terrible to atrocious and blasting stereos would compete with barking dogs. Think I'm an overreacting NIMBY? Walk through any neighborhood that's gone from R-1 to multiple rental-unit dwellings. My frat boy days are behind me.

Scot Renfro


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