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Palo Alto to Survey Residents About Granny-Units

August 18, 2016

081816Communities across the Silicon Valley are seeking ways to increase housing, including more affordable options. At the latest Palo Alto Planning & Transportation Commission meeting, discussion included increasing the number of second dwelling units (SDUs) in Palo Alto. Commonly known as Granny-Units, the city has allowed SDUs to be built since 2002. Homeowners must first meet the qualifications in terms of their lot size, unit use and other parameters that were established. Now Palo Alto is looking to expand the Granny-Unit ordinance, to allow for more of these secondary houses to be built.

The idea is to provide more affordable housing options within the space we already have. However, there are concerns to take into consideration, including how these units affect neighborhoods. Some worry about heavier traffic congestion, while others worry about how a Granny-Unit built next door may affect their own property value, for example.

081816_2To get an in-depth review of just how Palo Alto residents feel about more Granny-Units being allowed, the Planning & Transportation Commission has suggested a public survey on the issue. The City Council is expected to post a survey on the City’s website before the end of the month. Residents will have a few weeks to take the survey and let their opinions be counted.

There are also more discussions planned with the Planning & Transportation Commission in regards to easing the minimum lot size requirement and parking restrictions as related to building a Granny-Unit. Another concern addressed at the meeting was over how current SDUs are being used. These units are to be built for the express purpose of having a tenant other than the homeowner living in them. The Commission is seeking ways to address SDUs being used illegally, such as for a home office.

The study results and further discussion points will be presented to the City Council by the end of this year. If Palo Alto decides to expand the current ordinance for building SDUs, the area could see an increase in housing options.

If you have property in Palo Alto, and have considered adding a Granny-Unit, this is one topic to watch closely. When you are ready to sell your home, my team and I are ready to help you through the entire process. Our goal is to make your experience both easy and pleasurable. Contact us today at (925) 634-7820, or by email at

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