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Council Revisits, Compromises on "Granny" Units

On April 17, the Council revisited the requirements for putting an accessory dwelling or "granny" unit on property lots in Palo Alto. The Council had adopted an ADU ordinance on March 7 that eliminated a number of restrictions included in recently passed state laws regulating ADUs. The Council then heard from hundreds of community members– both those who wanted to keep the changes and those who felt their voices had not been heard – and the Council made the decision to take the item off the consent calendar and hear public testimony.

The Council Chamber was packed on April 17, with almost 60 people speaking out on this topic. After several hours of public commentary, Council came together on a 7-2 vote to pass the ordinance. Some restrictions on lot size were added, as well as design guidelines to protect both privacy and neighborhood character. The ordinance also prohibits renting a “granny” unit for periods of less than 30 days. 

Staff must now provide quarterly updates to the Council on the implementation, and in six months the Planning and Transportation Commission will hold a study session and take public input on the effects of the ordinance.

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