Last June, Council initiated a Code amendment to reduce the regulatory barriers to accessory dwelling units a/k/a "garage apartments," "secondary unit" or "granny flats." Staff has drafted a proposed ordinance that would reduce some of the sillier barriers to ADUs, such as the requirement that they be served by a driveway at least 9' wide if located on a lot lacking a rear alley.
AURA has released a paper and counter-proposal, arguing that Staff's proposal does not go far enough. (I agree.) AURA is urging, among other things, that the minimum lot size for ADUs be reduced from 7,000 sf to 5,750 sf. ADUs currently are not allowed on lots smaller than 7,000 unless: (i) located in a neighborhood that has adopted a neighborhood plan and (ii) the neighborhood plan allows the "secondary apartment" infill option. Several central neighborhoods (including some in pricey 78704) have yet to adopt a neighborhood plan. ADUs are not available on smaller lots in these neighborhoods by default, depriving some homeowners (and potential tenants) of this option.
AURA also reasonably suggests allowing "attached" ADUs. Code today requires that an ADU be located at least 15 feet to the rear of the primary structure. Staff's proposal would reduce the required separation to 10 feet. But why require separation at all? ADUs are, by design, unobtrusive structures, but an attached ADU might be even less obtrusive than a detached ADU. The McMansion ordinance would remain as a rigid limitation on the size and bulk of the combined structure.