East Bay city looks at granny units to ease housing shortage

 

HAYWARD — Granny units, or basements turned into apartments
and garages transformed into cottages, could help Hayward ease the
Bay Area’s housing crisis.

That’s what the City Council agreed Tuesday, when it offered
thoughts on what the city could do to promote more housing, both
for those who can afford the region’s hefty price tag to live
here and those who cannot.

“People need these units for the older generation,” Mayor
Barbara Halliday said about so-called accessory dwelling units.
“And, sometimes, for the younger generation.”

While the council supported more of the units, some still feared
they might cause extra traffic and generate parking problems.

“The impact on neighborhoods will not be equitable,”
Councilman Mark Salinas said, noting that future apartments and
cottages likely will be built where property owners can afford
upgrades, and not where housing need is greatest.

Just how many of the units are already in Hayward was not
immediately available.

Councilwoman Aisha Wahab she said supported easing restrictions
on housing density, or how much housing could be built on a single
parcel, and suggested the city look at capping rents for granny
units.

“I think it’s going to get out of hand if we don’t have
some type of mechanism to control that,” Wahab said.

Her comments follow a Hayward developer proposing in September
to have five of 12 houses planned for the Harder-Tennyson
neighborhood include granny units, which supporters say would
create places for the elderly to remain in their homes, as well as
for young people to continue living with their family as they grow
and enter the workforce.

Wahab’s comments also follow state laws kicking in this month
that removed some of the red tape surrounding getting approval for
the units to get built, a move aimed at addressing California’s
housing crisis.

Tuesday’s work session was a chance for the council to weigh
in on a work plan to promote more housing in Hayward.

The council took no formal action during the session.

“Hayward, like other cities in the Bay Area, is experiencing
rising housing prices, severe housing instability for its most
vulnerable populations, displacement of existing residents and
increasing homelessness,” City Manager Kelly McAdoo said in a
background report for the council. “The increase in Hayward’s
and the Bay Area’s population, absent a corresponding increase in
housing units, has caused rents and prices to rise as supply has
failed to meet demand.”

Home ownership is out of reach for most Hayward renters, McAdoo
said.

As of October, the median sales price for a house in Hayward was
$730,000, and $528,500 for a condominium or townhouse, according to
the National Association of Realtors.

A would-be buyer would need an income of approximately $100,000
to purchase a condo and $130,000 to get a house, the report shows.
But the median income for a Hayward renter is $56,7915, McAdoo
said, citing U.S. Census Bureau data.

“The high cost of ownership housing prevents renters from
becoming homeowners, and homeownership can stabilize housing cost
and create equity for the homeowner,” McAdoo said.

Deputy City Manager Jennifer Ott told the council Tuesday that
“there is no silver bullet” to tackle the need for more
housing. But she said she hoped to present a plan to the council in
February that would be a starting point.

Councilman Francisco Zermeno said the plan should include
provisions to protect the most vulnerable seeking shelter.

“I think we need to stress the low-income housing,” Zermeno
said.

Source: FS – All – Real Estate News 1
East Bay city looks at granny units to ease housing shortage