Kevin Fixler, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The Healdsburg City Council on Monday advanced the county’s least restrictive rules on granny units to encourage development and help address the city’s ongoing and immediate need for more affordable workforce housing.
The move comes three years after a city housing action committee first made the recommendation to expand the size of the accessory units on existing home sites, as well as reduce the impact fees collected to build them. The council’s decision was seen as a victory in meeting Healdsburg’s plan to open up new ways to solve what has been branded a growing regional housing crisis.
“This has been a long process,” said Mayor David Hagele. “It’s a pretty big step that we’re taking. This is housing we want, and this is housing we need. This is a pretty happy moment that we’re able to take some action.”
The unanimous vote also followed the council’s direction to city staff to finalize a deal to buy two small, below-market rate apartment complexes not far from the downtown plaza, according to the real estate agent representing the seller. The two properties, each made up of eight low-rent units, are located at 531 University St. and 500 Piper St. Terms of the purchase agreement were not available Monday, though the asking price was $1.8 million and $1.5 million, respectively.
Once the new granny unit regulations go into effect in the next 45 days, residents will have fees waived on all those built up to 850 square feet. Under current city regulations, the dimension is the largest permitted and costs nearly $10,000 to construct, according to the city.