Will granny flats be on A2’s agenda this year?

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Update: At Monday’s City Council meeting, City Administrator Steve Powers presented a two-year budget plan. One bullet item, via mlive.

Powers is recommending $25,000 for development and implementation assistance to start working toward newly established affordable housing goals in the upcoming fiscal year, plus $280,000 going to the Ann Arbor Housing Commission.

In October’s edition of The Ann, artist Jeremy Wheeler broached the notion of granny flats as a solution of Ann Arbor’s skyrocketing rents. [Read “Dream Big.”] Now, others have taken up the cause. We’ll see tonight whether city government will make granny flats a priority for 2015.

Affordable-housing advocates rallied April 7 behind city planners’ request for $25,000 to hire a consultant to develop an ordinance for what they call accessory dwelling units — additional living units that homeowners build on their property. Some think letting homeowners add granny flats would be the easiest solution to rising housing prices — as opposed to, say, building low-income housing, raising the minimum wage, rent controls or just letting working-class people be squeezed out of the city.

Renting out granny flats is illegal in Ann Arbor. In 2002, when ADUs were proposed for the city, homeowners and neighborhood groups bristled. Among the concerns: that single-family neighborhoods would be overrun by college-student renters. And some candidates for City Council have proposed alternatives: loosening zoning restrictions to increase housing development and building housing for the poorest.

Check out Affordable Housing Now Ann Arbor’s new Facebook page.  Watch city government meetings on CTN.

Jim McBee

Founding partner, creative director and ink-stained wretch with The Ann magazine.