County supervisors approve ordinance for granny flats, delay CDBG discussion

Supervisor Kathryn Barger prepares to present a $350,000 check to Homes for Families on behalf of the county during a ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal


County supervisors approved housing rules Tuesday as a way to provide options for homeowners and perhaps help alleviate L.A. County’s housing crisis.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance Tuesday providing homeowners with new opportunities to build or convert existing spaces into accessory dwelling units, also known as “backyard homes” or “granny flats.”

The ordinance gives homeowners more flexibility in creating ADUs and helps the county’s strive to expand low-cost housing options, according to discussion at the May 22 meeting. The move was done with assistance from the Department of Regional Planning, which helped development of the ordinance to confront homelessness.

“This ordinance enables County property owners to be part of the solution in the fight against homelessness,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “Building ‘granny flats’ can help alleviate our affordable housing crisis, while providing additional rental income for the families who build them. I strongly encourage homeowners to consider whether this opportunity can work for them. When it comes to reducing homelessness, we need all hands on deck and everyone in.”

Supervisor Kathryn Barger thanked regional planning director Amy Bodek and the staff for working with the 5th District’s unincorporated communities in developing the ordinance to meet their unique needs, such as parking and developmental impacts.

“We will surely make adjustments as the program grows,” she said. “This is a new era for the county, and we must be creative in how we address our affordable housing crisis, but we must also be able to be sensitive to how those policies affect our communities.”

Supervisor Hilda Solis and Janice Hahn agreed. Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas was not present at the meeting for the vote.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors held their Tuesday discussion of community development grants for a later date, due to requests from members of the public, according to the meeting.

This year, CDBG funds available for the county and participating cities in the fiscal year 2018-19 are estimated at $35 million. Of that total, $22 million is in new allocation, $2.5 million in program income and $9 million in prior year’s funds.

Federal authorities at the Department of Housing and Urban Development allocate disbursements to large governing entities at the city, county and state levels each year. These federal dollars pay for public services, infrastructure improvements and programs to help low-income residents.

The county has a five-year plan for housing and community development that covers projections, but each year specific projects are identified for CDBG funding, said Linda Jenkins, a manager in the county’s Community Development Commission.

For unincorporated areas in the Santa Clarita Valley, such as Castaic and Val Verde, the county’s CDBG funding is essential, Jenkins said.

For more information on the Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative, please visit


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