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Appetite for ADUs Rises in San Jose

San Jose has issued a steadily-rising number of ADU permits in recent years. Now, Mayor Sam Liccardo has implemented measures to ease the process for homeowners who want to build granny flats.
August 30, 2019, 10am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Nicolás Boullosa

According to San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are "the single fastest and most efficient step in addressing the city's affordable housing crisis," Emily DeRuy reports. "And with the city struggling to meet the mayor's goal of building 25,000 units — including 10,000 affordable homes —  by 2022, accessory dwelling units are also a way to add to the city's housing stock."

From January through June of 2019, San Jose issued 191 ADU permits, exceeding 2018's annual total of 190 as well as a mere 91 in 2017. According to polls, almost a third of San Jose residents are interested in having an ADU on their property, and the city says over half of its single-family homes would qualify.

To ease the permitting process, the city has rolled out measures including a set of pre-approved ADU designs, an express lane at the city's permitting center, and an online portal to help residents understand what steps to take.

"Other cities in the region are implementing their own changes [...] And those policy tweaks are paying off," DeRuy writes. ADU applications are on the rise throughout the region, especially as more families turn to "multi-generational living arrangements" in the face of sky-high housing costs.

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Published on Tuesday, August 27, 2019 in The Mercury News
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