napa moves proactively to ease onerous granny unit fees

Reducing and eliminating onerous local fees that discourage homeowners from building accessory dwelling units (ADUs), aka granny units, is among the Bay Area Council’s top priorities in our work to expand this important source of affordable housing. Such fees can add tens of thousands of dollars and more to the cost of ADUs. So we were thrilled this week to learn that the Napa City Council unanimously approved an ordinance to exempt accessory dwelling units (ADUs) of less than 500 square feet from the city’s housing impact fee. It’s thought to be one of the few cities in California to take such a proactive step on ADU fees.

The move will reduce construction costs by an estimated $2,700 per ADU. And, Napa City Housing Manager Lark Ferrell said proposed ADU fee reductions being considered by the Napa sanitation and school districts could lower total impact fees by $12,000. We applaud Napa’s action and encourage other cities to take similar steps. The Bay Area Council has sponsored and advocated for a number of bills to remove barriers to ADU construction, including Assemblymember Phil Ting’s bill (AB 2890) which the Senate Appropriations Committee currently is considering.

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