The regulations governing applications for granny flats — otherwise known as accessory dwelling units or ADUs — are being relaxed both statewide and within Santa Barbara city limits.

This week, the City Council Ordinance Committee got a first look at the new rules, which will allow units to be higher, with more square footage. In addition, property owners will be able to use more of their back yard for new units. Also City Hall could be allowed greater latitude in permitting double ADUs — up to 25 feet if the unit is attached to the main structure.

Driving these changes is a statewide sense of urgency over the extreme shortage of housing throughout California. At a time when local governments throughout the state are struggling to identify parcels on which additional housing can viably be built, the utility and attractiveness of granny flats as a solution is only growing.

After the Ordinance Committee concludes its deliberations, the new language will go to the whole council for a vote.

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