Briefs: How will 'granny units' fit in housing plan? | February 5, 2014 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - February 5, 2014

Briefs: How will 'granny units' fit in housing plan?

The Planning Commission is in the throes of figuring out how to incorporate secondary units, also known as "granny units," into Menlo Park's housing landscape now that changes to the city's ordinances make their construction legal.

Part of the difficulty stems from dealing with existing units built without permits in a way that won't render them out of compliance, but also won't cost the owners thousands of dollars to bring the homes up to code, while simultaneously ensuring that anyone living in the units has a safe, sanitary home.

Sound complicated? It is.

Initial considerations include whether to reduce the required minimum lot size for a secondary unit to 5,750 square feet; allowing accessory buildings, such as garages, of up to 640 square feet to be converted to granny units; and whether limiting the number and type of plumbing fixtures within an accessory building is a good way to differentiate those buildings from secondary units.

Still in search of solutions, the commission held a study session on Jan. 27 and will continue its discussion on Feb. 10.

Bike registration

It's a given that bikes attract thieves, and no lock is perfect. Now, the Menlo Park police are trying to make recovering your bicycle post-theft a little easier by launching a registration program.

The free service allows owners to enter their bikes' identifying information, including the serial number, and also submit photos to a police database. In the event of theft, the department will add the bike's data to a list of stolen property statewide so that if it's located anywhere in California, you may get the bike back.

Go to and click on "online resources," then "bicycle registration" to sign up.

— Sandy Brundage


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