By Deb Murphy
An amendment to Bishop’s Municipal Code allowing granny flats, or Accessory Dwelling Units, in residential zones is headed to City Council. The change is in response to state legislation signed by Governor Jerry Brown last fall as a measure to reduce the state’s affordable housing shortage.
City Planning Associate Elaine Kabala presented the ordinance amendment at last week’s Planning Commission. The code change was approved unanimously. If approved by City Council, the ordinance could make a small dent in the City’s housing issues.
The legislation, AB 2299 and SB 1069, and consequently Bishop’s ordinance, contain elements more appropriate for densely populated urban areas—things like easing parking restrictions. But, Kabala explained, those elements were included to be in full compliance with state law and to cover any future changes in Bishop.
So, ADUs are okay in A-R, low density residential, and R-1 zoning under the following guidelines:
One ADU on property with a single family dwelling in which the owner lives. The primary dwelling and ADU cannot both be rented out. The ADU has to include all the elements of a dwelling unit.
Distances between buildings and setbacks will be the same as those applied to garages; no setbacks greater than five feet from rear and side lot lines are allowed.
All building codes apply as do applicable development standards.
On lots less than 20,000 square feet, the ADU cannot be any larger than 50-percent of the primary residence, or 1,200 sq. ft. On larger lots, the maximum ADU size is 1,500 sq. ft.
According to Kabala, existing, but not legal, ADUs, referred to as bootlegs, can rise to legal status provided they meet the City’s building standards and are in compliance with the new ordinance.