Updated ‘granny flat’ rules set in Fountain Valley

The Fountain Valley City Council agreed Tuesday night to update local rules for “granny flats,” following a new state law intended to make the housing units easier to build.

Granny flats, also known as accessory dwelling units, can be attached, unattached or within a larger home. They can include backyard cottages or apartments built in basements or above garages.

Under the new ordinance, units built within a half-mile of the city’s busiest bus lines — along Euclid Street, Edinger Avenue and Harbor Boulevard, where buses stop at 15-minute intervals or less during peak commute times — will be exempt from having dedicated parking. All others must have one parking space per unit, or per bedroom, whichever is less.

Either the main or accessory unit must be owner-occupied, and the accessory unit cannot be sold separately or offered for short-term rental. An attached accessory unit’s square footage can’t exceed half of the main unit’s, or 1,200 square feet. The total floor space for a detached accessory unit can’t exceed 1,200 square feet.

A lot must be at least 7,200 square feet to have a secondary unit.

The council vote was 4-1. As he did on the first reading of the changes last month, Councilman Mark McCurdy cast the dissenting vote because he felt the parking requirement was anti-car.


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