Oakland led the way in easing the restrictions on in-fill development and Berkeley now puts an ambitious plan forward as well. While only properties within a quarter-mile of BART stations and the existing permit areas will be exempt from adding an additional parking spot, this will quickly help address our housing crunch by providing a streamlined approach to legal second units. Do note that at least one of the units will need to be owner-occupied.
Be forewarned though – while you will no longer need an administrative use permit for the addition, the actual building permit process is often much slower than most people anticipate.
“Berkeley officials voted unanimously Tuesday night to streamline the process for homeowners who want to add secondary units — sometimes called in-law units or granny flats — to their properties.
Supporters of the draft plan say it is a sustainable approach to increasing density and will allow more local residents to age in place by cutting down on the bureaucratic hurdles tied to the construction of additions, while also making those projects cheaper.
The proposal, from Mayor Tom Bates, would allow homeowners who follow certain standards to build the units “by right,” meaning they would not need to apply for an administrative use permit prior to construction. Those permits can be costly and take a long time to make their way through the approval process. Building plans would still require review by city staff, but public hearings and neighborhood feedback would be off the table.”