City staff hope the changes will increase the number of permit applications for 700 square foot secondary units from less than one per year to somewhere from 10 to 15 units per year.
The intent is to create more affordable rental units within Alameda.
The rule changes would reduce the minimum lot size requirement, and parking requirements for secondary units, specifically:
- Reduce Lot Size Requirement: The proposed amendment reduces the minimum lot size requirement from 7,500 square feet to 4,000 square feet in size. The 4,000 square foot minimum requirement reflects the maximum density allowed under “Measure A” of one unit per 2,000 square feet of lot area.
- Adjust Parking Requirement: The proposed amendment would require eligible properties to have two parking spaces, one for the main dwelling and one for the second unit. These parking spaces may be in tandem configuration. In Alameda, single-family rectangular lots are often configured with a driveway on one side leading to a garage or accessory building in the rear. The existing long driveways provide opportunities for parking without requiring additional pavement in the backyard.
- Allow Second Units in Accessory Buildings: The proposed amendment eliminates conflicts between the Second Unit Ordinance and the Accessory Building Regulations. Specifically, it would remove regulations that preclude property owners from using existing accessory buildings as living space or building small backyard cottages for second units. Existing requirements that the detached second unit match the architectural style of the main dwelling would remain unchanged. Accessory buildings converted for living space are subject to applicable building and safety codes.
City staff plan to monitor progress of secondary unit production through the annual Housing Element reporting process.