News

Tonight: Menlo Park Planning Commission studies rules for granny units

When Menlo Park decided last year to legalize construction of secondary units, also known as "granny units", it was only the first step in a series of decisions that must be made regarding how the units can be built.

The Planning Commission tonight (Jan. 27) starts tackling the next steps by holding a study session during its regular meeting to discuss how large lots must be to qualify for a granny unit, how far back the units must be set from lot boundaries and other structures, and figure out how to distinguish the secondary units from accessory structures in the city's building code.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St. Click here to review the agenda.

Comments

Posted by whatever, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 28, 2014 at 10:21 pm

so, what was decided at the meeting?


Posted by Sandy Brundage, Almanac Staff Writer, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 28, 2014 at 10:27 pm

It was a study session, thus no decisions were made.


Posted by wahtever, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 29, 2014 at 3:19 pm

So, what was discussed? Options? Next steps?
A little followup for us readers please,


Posted by inside scoop, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 29, 2014 at 3:37 pm

I asked a planning commissioner about the meeting and was told that the commissioners were disappointed with the way that staff has handled this project. The proposed restrictions are so rigid that few people would be able to build second units.

The problem is that granny units are individual projects, and they're small. The big developers don't care about them because they can't make much (if any) money from them. So there is no one with political clout or deep pockets leaning on the planning department.

The planning commission let staff know that they weren't happy. If you believe that homeowners should be encouraged rather than discouraged from building second units, tell the commission and staff.


Posted by whatever, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 29, 2014 at 10:36 pm

Thank you inside scoop.
Too bad the Almanac doesn't see fit to let us know what went on at the meeting. It's an important topic with so few rental units available and the growing need for living units for full-time care givers for our elderly who wish to stay in their homes.


Posted by Sandy Brundage, Almanac Staff Writer, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 30, 2014 at 7:35 am

Whatever:

The Almanac will have a summary in the next issue. You can also watch the discussion yourself at the link below. The granny unit session starts at about 3:40 into the meeting:

Web Link


Posted by EAST OF 101, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 16, 2014 at 9:29 pm

I hope that they allow the granny units or at least allow people to keep the existing units. Cultures with extended families build or have add on's to accommodate their elderly family members and the new filipino codr enforcement officer is terrorizing the people in East Menlo Park to make modifications to their properties that is costly. I know a women who is devastated because she had an addition done for her elderly mother and now she has to tear it down. There were no plans or permits but she is a property owner and pays property taxes and is not gang affiliated or has gang activity in her home. The City of Menlo Park is forcing people to live up to the living standards of the more affluent ares but what they don't understand is that people living in the Belle Haven Community don't make affluent salaries. This is causing unfavorable cost to a struggling community but of course there is no reasoning with the law. Gentrification all the way around is where this neighborhood is heading. Thanks Facebook for brining you billion dollar empire but not was is needed the most, jobs , jobs, jobs.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Posted by inside scoop, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 29, 2014 at 3:37 pm
I asked a planning commissioner about the meeting and was told that the commissioners were disappointed with the way that staff has handled this project. The proposed restrictions are so rigid that few people would be able to build second units.

The problem is that granny units are individual projects, and they're small. The big developers don't care about them because they can't make much (if any) money from them. So there is no one with political clout or deep pockets leaning on the planning department.

The planning commission let staff know that they weren't happy. If you believe that homeowners should be encouraged rather than discouraged from building second units, tell the commission and staff.>>

"The proposed restrictions are so rigid that few people would be able to build second units." This is true. The fees are so high that most people, particularly the elderly that need these units the most, will never be able to build them. Staff has always discouraged second units, imposing huge fees and ridiculous requirements to prevent them from being built. I looked into this some time ago and was quoted many, many thousands in fees including a survey that would cost $2500 on top of everything else. I gave up the idea and the city is now short one more housing unit. I would think the city would be bending over backwards to help us get these units built but they are not. I guess they would rather see ghetto style high rise apartment buildings instead of charming second units distributed throughout the city. I hope they will reconsider.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 17, 2014 at 12:50 pm

There is one problem that goes along with allowing granny units - parking. Specifically overnight parking. Most homes have two parking spaces and two cars. You add a granny unit and you have added a third car with nowhere to park it but the street. I think all of us have probably been ticketed at one time or another for parking on the street overnight, so if the city is going to approve these units they are going to have to accept overnight parking on the street. I don't see this happening any time soon as overnight parking is restricted so as not to look like the North Fair Oaks neighborhood and other cities that do allow overnight parking. The streets become clogged with cars.


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