State Assembly approves Wieckowski granny flats bill

SB 1069 is most extensive accessory units bill in California in decades

August 29, 2016

Sacramento ­– The California State Assembly today approved State Senator Bob Wieckowski’s (D - Fremont) bill to eliminate excessive fees and restrictions that discourage the building of accessory dwelling units (ADUs), also known as granny flats, in California.  Senate Bill 1069 is the Legislature’s most far-reaching bill on ADUs since 2002. The bill has the support of business, labor, affordable housing advocates, teachers and seniors.  It now heads back to the Senate for a concurrence vote.

“Senate Bill 1069 returns power to the homeowner by eliminating unnecessary barriers that prevent the construction of these affordable units,” said Wieckowski, a member of the Senate’s Transportation and Housing Committee. “California is in a housing crisis and allowing people to modify their existing home or build a small cottage in their backyard, will increase the rental supply at no cost to taxpayers.  It will also enable people of all ages to stay in the community they like without having to move away from their family, friends, work or school.”

SB 1069 eliminates excessive utility fees; prohibits sprinkler requirements, if they are not required in the primary residence; provides exceptions to parking restrictions when the home is located within a half mile of transit;  and requires ministerial approval for the remodeling of existing homes when they are compliant with building and safety codes.  Governor Brown signaled his support of the bill earlier this year as a means to speed up local approval of affordable housing. 

SB 1069 is on the California Chamber of Commerce’s “job creator” list. The Terner Center for Housing Innovation, based at the University of California, Berkeley, says it would lead to a net fiscal benefit from increased local economic activity, create jobs and allow aging baby boomers to “age-in-place.”  In the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area alone, SB 1069 could lead to more than 14,000 jobs, according to the Terner Center.

Californians pay 50 percent more per month than renters in any other state.  The bottom 25 percent of income earners are spending 67 percent of their income on housing. 

SB 1069 is supported by a large coalition, including the Bay Area Council, AARP, the California Housing Consortium, the California School Employees Association, Joint Venture Silicon Valley Network, the Housing Trust of Silicon Valley, the Greenbelt Alliance, the National Resources Defense Council, the City of Oakland and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. 

Senator Wieckowski represents the 10th District, which includes southern Alameda County and northeast Santa Clara County.