Wake County commissioners took a swipe at the Raleigh City Council Monday by encouraging Wake towns to embrace accessory dwelling units, also known as granny flats.
In November, Raleigh City Council members turned back the latest of several years' worth of proposed ordinances to allow the dwellings, called ADUs. The little houses are widely seen as one means of trying to reduce the growing need for affordable housing; towns in California must allow them under state law. But some residents, as well as council members, worry that homeowners could put up backyard dwellings that would tower over their patios, attract undesirable renters, and add to parking woes.
"Whereas, Wake County desires to partner with municipalities to reduce obstacles to ADU construction, as well as increase public awareness of ADUs and their benefit; now therefore be it resolved, that the Wake County Board of Commissioners encourages municipalities to join Wake County in allowing development and reducing obstacles for accessory dwelling units as-of-right in single-family and low-density residential neighborhoods," the resolution says.
There's no force of law in the resolution, just a reminder from county commissioners that they'd like to see ADUs sprouting throughout Wake's towns. The suggestion seems aimed at Raleigh, where urban density could make backyard cottages more viable, although the resolution's wording includes Zebulon, Rolesville, Garner, and other towns as well.
Commissioners also voted unanimously for Jessica Holmes to serve as chairwoman for the next year, replacing Sig Hutchinson, who became vice chairman. Holmes has been outspoken in her advocacy for affordable housing, behavioral health care, and education funding.
Also Monday, Mayor Nancy McFarlane was sworn in for a fourth term, along with city council members including newcomers Stefanie Mendell and Nicole Stewart. Will the newly constituted council be more likely to follow the commissioners' helpful advice on granny flats and other hitherto delayed changes, such as short-term rentals?
Watch this space.