LA to granny flats: We want you

City launches program to boost development, speed construction approvals

Collage of the pre-approved ADU designs (LA Department of Building and Safety)
Collage of the pre-approved ADU designs (LA Department of Building and Safety)

Los Angeles officials launched a program intended to speed up approval time for the construction of accessory dwelling units — also called granny flats — in its latest bid to address the housing crisis.

The announcement highlighted 20 pre-approved ADU designs, according to Urbanize. ADUs, which are typically built in the backyards of single-family properties, now account for 22 percent of newly-permitted housing in the city. The 20 approved designs range in size from a 340-square-foot studio to a two-bedroom unit totaling 1,000 square feet.

Officials say using a Standard Plan Program layout for construction could reduce the review process from around six weeks down to a single day. That may be optimistic, but cutting down on approval time would likely encourage development as well as lower costs for homeowners.

The program includes ADU designs from 10 companies, according to Urbanize. Another eight designs from four companies have approvals pending. Developers and designers can apply to have their designs pre-approved through the program.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Granny flats have become increasingly popular in L.A. and across California. Advocates argue they are a relatively cheap way to bring new housing units to the market on existing low-density residential properties.

In 2019, the state passed a series of laws to legalize and encourage the addition of ADUs to existing properties.

Some jurisdictions have struggled with regulating granny flats. In 2019, L.A. banned the use of granny flats as short-term rentals.

[Urbanize] — Dennis Lynch