Thursday, February 05, 2009

Granny flats, and granddaddy apartments

Here's a short bit, referring you to an article on the value of accessory apartments -- you know, those mother-in-law apartments, or garage apartments, or granny flats or carriage houses or whatever you want to call them.

A number of municipalities have relaxed their zoning rules to allow them as a way to get more affordable places to live tucked into existing neighborhoods. Since the single-family-home owner owns them, he or she can rent to whomever he wants. The rent helps the homeowner pay the mortgage, too.

Allowing more accessory apartments isn't a silver bullet for affordable housing, but every little bit helps.

Long ago, when I was a kid and we were living for several years in Lakeland, Fla., my parents rented a house with a garage apartment in the back. For a time a young teacher lived there. She belonged to a religious group that didn't believe in makeup. She had very long red hair and I remember thinking she was very very pale.

But most of the time my growing-senile grandfather lived in the apartment, before he decided he didn't want to live in a state that refused to let him renew his driver's license. So Granddaddy returned to his hometown of Wynne, Ark., where he knew everyone at the courthouse, and they gave him a license. It was a small town, and everyone in town knew that if old Mr. Newsom was out driving, just get off the road.


Anonymous said...

After years of outlawing them, many jurisdictions are finding the err in their ways as they look at "temporary housing" measures to releive some of ills thier constituents are facing. So now, instead of a granny flat, people will be allowed to out a pop-up in the back yard or live in the storage shed.

Maybe granny flats and frogs were ok after all.

barkomomma said...

...until GovCo realizes that they could supplement their failing tax revenue schemes by declaring that those residences could actually be classified as HOTELs/MOTELs and be taxed accordingly so the grand march to "World Class" can go on unabated by reality!

The only change I believe in is what little I have left in my pocket.

danoplan said...

Allowing granny flats and garage apartments enable a variety of residents to live in areas they othwerise typically could not afford. A neotraditional development like Baldwin Park in Florida has a significant number of garage apartments and is one of Orlando's most desirable neighborhoods. If you are interested take a look at the link below.

Jumper said...

Questioning the economic wisdom of crowds.

2whls3spds said...

Another small change in zoning that perhaps would help, would be to allow some light retail on certain corners. Similar to the grid system that was in use back around the turn of the 20th century. Many houses had the small flats out back, accessed form the alleyways, and every 4-6 blocks or so there would be 2-4 corner lots dedicated to retail/commercial use, green grocer, butcher shop, shoemaker, paperstock (books and magazines) and even the occasional bar, but those were typically on the wrong side the tracks ;-) In many cases the owners of the establishments lived upstairs, and were contributing members of the neighborhood.