Nevada County supervisors delay decision on accessory dwelling units |

Nevada County supervisors delay decision on accessory dwelling units

Nevada County supervisors on Tuesday punted a decision on tweaking their rules on accessory dwelling units, opting to wait until a report from the Mountain Housing Council is released early next year.

The Board of Supervisors dug into recommendations made last month by its Planning Commission, which included removing a prohibition that forbids granny units being short-term rentals and foregoing a requirement that owners live on the property.

Supervisors quickly began questioning aspects of the draft ordinance. Supervisor Heidi Hall asked why someone building an accessory unit with its own kitchen must install a second septic tank. Supervisor Richard Anderson questioned whether allowing the units to serve as short-term rentals would create a new class of investment property, instead of providing more long-term housing.

According to Anderson, property owners would gain better financial returns from short-term rentals.

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“We’re getting into a bind here,” Supervisor Dan Miller said.

Seana Doherty, project director of the Mountain Housing Council, said during public comment that supervisors want the accessory dwelling unit ordinance to address housing issues. She urged the board ensure any information they consider about the units is backed by credible studies.

Emphasizing that point, Doherty said no study shows that increasing the number of short-term rentals would increase the amount of rentals for everyone.

Doherty also said that while Nevada County is considering deferring mitigation fees for unit owners who meet certain requirements, Placer County waives those same fees.

Under the proposal local builders could defer mitigation fees until after someone rents the unit, if it’s rented to someone who qualifies as low income for 10 years or the unit is 800 square feet or less.

“ADUs really do offer this opportunity,” Doherty said of addressing housing issues. “It’s a priority issue to address that.”

Doherty said her organization early next year will release a brief with housing information. That document, and supervisors’ lingering concerns, led Anderson to suggest delaying the board’s vote on the new ordinance. Hall and Miller agreed, and the vote to postpone passed unanimously.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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