Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Grannie Flats

I received an email about a recent article in the New York Times.

"The following article is one which somewhat echo's my thoughts regarding "accessory" or "grannie" rentals as they are now called for the neighborhood. I realize that they can be considered an added bonus for some homeowners and for those of us with aging parents they would provide the needed additional space to allow a relocation but still a sense of "personal" space.

With Sherry's recent mentioning of the 3 associations working together, it hit me that this is an issue that we should take to city council to push to have zoning rewritten to allow the SH area to build legal additional rentals/garage apts in our area. It is historic in context and would allow those fellow neighbors, children and parents that are currently in the neighborhood to stay and be a part of the neighborhood. I think the multi-generational aspect of our neighborhood is one of the factors that binds us and makes us more diverse in our goal of strengthening the neighborhood. Where do all of the Starbucks and the "Mom and Pop" employees live that may want to move out of the house but not live with 7 people - certainly not in our neighborhood. When we owned a 5 unit building in the neighborhood there were always tenants waiting to move in - typically the youngster just starting out - many of them good kids just working to gain independence and earn their "sea legs" away form Mom and Dad as it may. The average rent on a small bungalow in the 'hood starts at about $800 bucks or more - add to that deposits and utilities and it just does not work for the younger generation or newly married couples starting out.

I think with the rewrite of the zoning (now in process I believe) that this is the time to put some light on the subject and focus on making our great neighborhood even more livable. "

Here is the link to the article and some excerpts
The Apartment Atop the Garage Is Back in Vogue

"towns in need of inexpensive housing are turning to garage apartments, mother-in-law units and cottages in the backyard. The aim is to enable people who would otherwise be priced out of the housing market to live close to their jobs and relatives."
. . .
"Once fairly common in large houses but prohibited by zoning ordinances after World War II, so-called accessory apartments in places like garages or attics are now seen as one way to expand the supply of moderately priced rentals. They are intended for older people on fixed incomes, young people starting out and workers needed for essential but relatively low-paying jobs. For a homeowner, a granny flat can be a source of rental income to help cover property taxes and other costs"

"“The reality is we desperately need the housing in most of the places where people are talking about this,” . . . “This is the least intrusive way to try to provide it; and the impacts that people are afraid will happen simply don’t happen in most places.”
. . .
"That is not to say the apartments are not controversial. In the suburbs, some residents have argued against encouraging or even allowing them, saying they will damage their neighborhood’s look and feel. Some say they worry about crowding, traffic, parking and a strain on public services, especially schools."

This article is focusing on suburbs and exurbs but could apply to us in Seminole Heights and the rest of the Central Tampa area. We have many garage apartments in Seminole Heights, some legal and some not. The only way to have a legal one is get get grandfathered in ( I think).

If we had a larger population in the same area, we would have more need for services such as stores and restaurants and public transit, and more money in the neighborhood to spend in these places and thereby support them.

Seminole Heights - lets discuss!


Anonymous said...

And with that comes junk, broken down cars, and crime.

Anonymous said...

I think you have missed the point - this post is not talking about absentee landlord situations and increased density - it's about owner ocupied homes that have the opportunity to provide moderately priced housing for those just starting out.

I think that we have code focused enough that it would not turn into what the neighborhood is changing from but what the neighborhood represents - a great location, diversity in ages and the abilty for an individual to start their future in a living, caring community.

Anonymous said...

I think that while it may start out that way, when the landlords can't rent their apt., they will take whoever comes down the pike that will pay the rent, and with the cyclical nature of the housing market, that day will inevitably come. Not everyone who owns a rental unit makes a good landlord. Even with the increased code enforcement in our neighborhood, we have recurring problems with some of the renters on our street trashing their yard and the owners neglecing their rental home. Not all of them, of course.

Rick F. said...

Be careful what you wish for. You might just live to regret it. The City made a huge mistake with the 80% rule on zoning and made some streets in Hyde Park virtually impassable in a matter of a few years. Changing the rules to allow "nice little grannie flats" without challenging zoning hurdles would soon have Seminole Heights resembling Castle Heights and Sulphur Springs. I am sure the same arguements were put forth when they started to build a "few" duplex units. Eventully they couldn't be presented with a duplex they could say no to. Soon you had hardly any owner occupied housing stock and the downward spiral began. Or maybe we could consider good old 7th avenue in Ybor. A little wet-zoning will surely help revitalize Ybor. Wait a little worked, it will be even better with more. Oh my where did all the merchants and artists go? The City of Tampa...the Mayor, the council members, the attorneys that advise them will cave as they always do under the word "precedent." Sociologically, if you tip the balance of owner occupied v. rental units much beyond 25% to 30% and you will have a neighborhood struggling to hold it own and beginning to decline. Why the problems in "suitcase city" ??? It is over 90% rental property but it didn't start out that way. Go into Sulphur Springs calculate the percentage of rentals. Do the same for any declining or blighted neighborhood in the country. It will be the rare exception that might not hold true. It also will not matter what the racial or cultural make-up of the area. Rental housing is almost universally less well maintained.

This is an idea that is bad for the long term health of any of the Central Tampa neighborhoods.

This sounds like a nice idea... The folks in Troy thought that big wooden horse at the gates of their city was a lovely jesture as well.

SendGrannyPackin said...

I think I would vote against this one. I am sorry, the Code Enforcement can't tell there ass from a hole in the ground. With the exception of Kristen, they all combined have about an IQ of a 2nd grader. This spells disaster. I would rather have them look at it on a case by case basis. All it takes is one bad one to ruin it all.

Anonymous said...

so you put parameters on the ability to create a garage apartment - there has to be off street parking or it doesn't qualify. The sq footage is limited so that you don't have a family renting the space - 1-2 individuals. 500 sq feet or so

It's not about creating a duplex - I think it should be limited to being over the garage or next to it - part of the garage at any rate.

I know that when I was going to school the garage apts in Hyde Park were a god send for me on a limited budget - hot as heck most of the time but they allowed me to have a place of my own that was cheaper than campus and not in one of the soulless 800 unit complexes around campus with a roommate that was just released from the loony bin.

I agree that the absence of owner occupied properties in Sulpher Springs has hurt the community - it does in any community but I think it is a leap to say that any home that has a rental apartment also becomes a slum lord property.

The rental properties in my area of the 'hood that are an issue have no garage apartments in the picture - they have 6 - 7 individuals in a single faily home - that's why the cars are parked all over the lawn.

Long story short - I don't see it as a bad thing - we need to think outside the box - if it has been an issue for the health of the neighborhood in the past then how can a garage apt be a positive thing and what steps do we take to make that be a win-win for all?

Anonymous said...

The current code must allow for these in some cases because there is a new garage apartment being built behind one of the newer homes on Central across from Hillsborough High. And I believe the garage added a year or so ago to another home on Central closer to the garden center has a garage above it.

Lucy D. Jones said...

Looking through old Tampa city directories from the 1920s and 1930s, it's striking how many houses had a rental apartment or room. Benefits to the homeowner included a little extra income. Benefits to the renter included affordable housing in a decent neighborhood. During WWII these apartments were particularly important for housing the workers and military personel who flooded into Tampa. People needed a place to live that was within walking distance of the bus or streetcar lines. With historical precedent, and current or projected needs for affordable housing and mass transit, garage apartments or grannie flats should be considered, if not encouraged.

Anonymous said...

You can build a accessory dwelling unit in an RS-50 zoning district if the city grants your request.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:29

You can build a 2nd floor to your garage but it can not be used as a rental under current code. It is additional storage - home office, artist studio, in-law suite, etc. They do not have the kitchens but can have bathrooms.

Current code also limits the size of the total accessory structure (garage and 2nd fl)

Anonymous said...

Why increase neighborhood density just for nostalgia? Also, go out to your backyard and try to visualize a 25' tall building with a 20'x20' footprint 3' off your property line. Quite a change to what you've become accustomed to. Still feel nostalgic?

It's my understanding that code allows for new construction of these units for family members only. The current system is adequate.

Anonymous said...

I think this discussion, if it truly is about affordable housing, should also include what to do about the old travel courts/motels on Nebraska, Hillsborough and Florida Avenues. They provide an inexpensive place for people to live but have been associated with crime and prostitution for some time.

One point to make about granny flat regulations would be that they should be concidered an accessory use, not a primary use and if the lot or existing site plan do not accomodate the 500-600 sf unit and the necessary parking than it is not allowed. Throwing the duplex issue in there I think is off topic because the zoning would have to allow two units by right without limitations on one being an accessory unit.

shawn-non-anonymous said...

I support Granny flats. We need some affordable housing in the area. I do not think allowing granny flats will lead to duplexes or any significant increase in code violations.

I would, however, require that the landowner's primary residence be on the property. This means the landowner must a) live with whatever nuisance the renters create and b) limits the landowner to owning just one granny flat. Granny flats should be in the attic or over the garage with hard limits on the square footage, massing, and other paramters that limit its impact.

I would also make the granny flats part of the existing zoning and *not* part of a multi-family zoning. This will prevent full-scale rental nightmares. Specifically, no additional meters for the Granny flat; utilities must be paid as part of the primary residence.

Second floors on garages are already allowed under our overlay district (which covers most of Seminole Heights to 15th St.) You may add one without a variance and it may have a bathroom and a kitchenette (but no oven). You may not rent this. However, you can apply for a variance (as the homes on Central did) to build a full kitchen for a family member that will live there. You actually have to provide evidence of which family member will be living there.

Our long-term plans include a second-floor garage addition fitted out for family guests. To do this, I require cash but no variances. So the only difference here is being allowed to rent it out.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:54

I don't think anyone is looking at this option as nostalgia.

If your lot does not allow room for a 2 story structure then by all means it won't happen. With current setbacks and fire code if you lot is not big enough then it is not big enough - that will keep them from popping up on every lot on every street on every block (that and $$$).

In my case I have a double lot and would not feel the intrusion as much as you might by a 2 sty structure.

I'd love to have the opportunity to build one to have my nephew rent when he come to school at USF in a few years.

I am in agreeance with Shawn that the zoning remain single family and not multi.

If you are going to have code violations on a property then they will be there garage apt or not.

Anonymous said...

I was refering to previous posts.

As I said, current code is adequate. Believe me, the ARC is fine with these things on small lots. As far as I know, nothing except hoops and $$ is stopping anyone from building these for family members.

Nice that you have more space than others. I was referring to (my bad) the intrusion felt by neighboring homeowners who may have smaller lots and have to look up to your 2-story building when they walk into their backyard. You may have extra space, but you can still build it +/- 3' from their property line.

Don't know how specific code is with family distinctions, but nephew sounds good to away.

Anonymous said...

The ARC can not stop them from (2 sty accessory structures) being built in the historic districts as long as they comply with current code and have adquate distance from the main structure (fire concerns) and are under the max sq footage requirements then it's a go. Of course if guidelines were to be written that would not allow a 2 sty accessory structure then ARC would be able to deny the request - but I don't that that is a vaild concern.

Much like the McMansions that have eaten up the lots in South Tp - if code allows you as the owner of the property to build out 90% of your lot then it's gonna happen eventually - max bldg ht in our neighborhood is 35'(can be 3 sty at that allowance) which can overshadow a typical SH bungalow but it's the property owners right to build - so screw how it affects the neighbor or the neighborhood - RIGHT?!?!?

Anonymous said...

to continue.....

most of the accessory structures are historically in the back corner of the property next to their neighbors so that intrusion would be less than you think and if there is an alley seperating property lines - as is the case in a lot of the area - then it would be even less than normal. But your concern if vaild.

shawn-non-anonymous said...

I'm not sure how that "screws" the neighbors. My house is roughly 34' high (depending on which side of the sloped lot you measure from). Would a two-story garage really represent such an eyesore given that it'd be relatively smaller than the main structure?

Remember, this only applies to *detached* garages and there is a square foot limit on how large it can be. I think it's something like 400sqft or a 20x20 "two-car" garage.

It's historically accurate for the neighborhood. It wouldn't swallow the 1949 ranch next door, and it could provide inexpensive, landlord-monitored housing.

Anon 4:26:

There are massing limits enforced by the ARC. One would hope a 3-story, 3000sqft home would not be permitted when surrounded by 1100sqft, 1-story bungalows. The overlay, which allows for the 2-story garages and 5-foot setbacks (3 only applies to port-caches (sp?)), also covers massing, if I recall correctly.

Anonymous said...

And then what happens when Kristen dies?
Its back to chaos and anarchy.
Vote no.
Code violations will reign supreme in SESH.

Anonymous said...

We could have granny flats all throughout Seminole Heights. These would be the perfect place to house the sex offenders. That way, they are not all living together and they're certainly not interested in Granny. It is a win/win issue for Seminole Heights. If enough Grannies participate, Helen Prigden will be put out of business. Hell, Grannies can offer low rent housing to the hookers. Perhaps a granny will rent a flat out to the hooker patrol. If the flats are close enough together, the hooker patrol can shine their spotlights from their flats to the hookers' flats. Yay!

Anonymous said...

YEAH! Thanks for posting IDIOT!

A Flock of Seagulls said...

I'm personally not very keen on this idea. Seems like there is already a good bit of "in-law" or "granny" rentals in the hood.

How many of you are hot-to-trot enough on this that you are ready to go build one on your property if allowed? I'm betting not many.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but this is a horrible idea. I bought my home in seminole heights about 6 months ago. It is right next to a old apt building that has garage apts in the back (charging minimal rent). I currently hate hate hate to be in my home because of the people who rent the unit. They are young and loud (gansta rap blasting)and have loud obnixius cars. I no longer feel safe in this neighborhood due to this dwelling.

IFly said...

Anon @11:20, while I sympathize with you for the disturbances you're suffering, that building, and I'd guess, the tenants were there when you purchased. Caveat Emptor. I'm not sure how you can "no longer feel safe," when it sounds like you should never have felt safe to begin with. Noise violations can be remedied with calling the police and requesting a case number(imposing some accountability works wonders). We've had success on a number of occasions.
As to the Granny flats, it's already going on, "under the table." Changing the rules to allow resident landlords the ability to do this legally wouldn't likely lead to an increase in tenants of the sort many find undesirable, but could provide affordable housing which is in short supply in our area. Parking is going to be a big part of the challenge. The rules should definitely address parking requirements of these if permitted. We have too many people filling their front yards with cars as it is.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I could support it either. Rentals in this Area have typically turned into bad situations (not all)

As for "affordable Housing" Tampa seems to be the only city I know where they try to disperse affordable housing through out every neighborhood. While in theory this may appear to be a good idea, it will never is why.

1) As you have an Affordable house in a neighborhood like SH, the homes around it are constantly increasing in value. The value of the affordable home goes up, making it Not affordable. The New Millennial homes are a perfect example where some are now over $200K. Also, taxes will catch up. If you have a neighborhood with $125K homes and the entire area keeps their homes in the same fashion, you will see the entire neighborhood stay within the same valued ammount.

2) As a society, social classes were defined by each class. I don't think you will ever find an affordable home on Bayshore as the living standards would not allow for cars in the yard, etc.

I have always said that most people feel comfortable living around like people/neighbors.

Look at Sulphur Springs, Plant City, Etc. These are areas were there are large concentrated code violations. As a neighborhood, many if not most have their standard of living and they are not bothered by the cars on blocks, the accumulation, etc.

In most cities, your personal finances require you to live in neighborhoods that you can "afford" thus, creating more affordable housing. In these areas, the cities typically have extended or more bus routes, etc. Property values are not threatened and neighbors feel comfortable setting their own standards of living. Occasionally, you would be fortunate and score an affordable apartment in the middle of the "nicer areas" but it required work.

Tampa has always insisted on trying to integrate their lower income residents into other, established neighborhoods and this will never work. Until they force the new residents to take a class teaching them minimum living standards, codes, etc. They two will never get a long. The city would rather see the up and coming neighborhoods take a step back or the established neighborhood take a step down so that they can have affordable homes everywhere at the expense of the existing homeowners.

shawn-non-anonymous said...

"Affordable Housing" in this case is refering to rents and not purchases. Granny Flats will in no way affect Tampa government's "affordable housing" initiatives. Rents are not comparable to things like Millenium homes unless you are *renting* the home. "Affordable Housing" doesn't necessarily mean "poor" either. How many of us that bought our homes in Seminole Heights 6+ years ago could afford to live here now? I couldn't. But if I wanted to, I'd need a relatively cheap place to rent. (and I promise not to play my 80s music loudly or park my Audi on the lawn. I may scare the neighbors, but only because I'm White and Nerdy.)

Granny Flat rentals are not apartment complexes. If the people renting the flat play loud music, park ugly cars on the lawn, and scare the neighbors, the owner of the home who lives there with them must approve.

One way to think of this is as a room rental. It's exactly like a room rental. I can rent a room in my house to anyone I choose. People tend to be less worried about that type of rental because the owner lives in the house too and that'll encourage the renters to behave. Granny Flats are the same thing except the room is detached over the garage.

Costs and the annoyances associated with sharing a space with non-relatives will keep the numbers of these flats low. Owner occupied rules will keep them from being any worse than what your neighbor is already like. Size limits will keep them from overwhelming the house, being very expensive, and creating a parking nightmare.

"Rental" and "Sex Offender" scares just don't apply to this sort of rental beyond the rates they already represent in the area. (A sex offender rents a room in home behind me. Several homes in my area are very trashy and the owners park multiple cars on the lawn.)

Anonymous said...

First of all.. your never going to be able to tell a property owner that they can't rent out their property unless there are deed restrictions. Zoning may limit the number of units on a property based on size etc. but you could end up with a situation where someone owns a house with a garage apartment and they rent out both the house and the garage apartment.

Sticky situations if the property owner doesn't pay attention to the property.

shawn-non-anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:16...

Not sure who you were refering to. Me? :-)

Regardless, yes you can. Zoning covers single or multi-family rentals. You can rent your single family home to a single family or to a small number of non-related persons. (I forget the exact number, but it's limited. 3?) If you rent to two families or more than the allowable non-related persons, say 7, then you are violating code.

In the case of what you do with an owner that wants to rent his single-family zoned home to one family and the garage apartment to another, that violates code. If it violates code the city can tell the owner they cannot rent it that way.

It's worth noting that second-floor garage additions are currently legal but cannot be legally rented. So in the case where people might illegaly rent something, they already do. No change there. If the situation can be "sticky" it already is. Having been involved in code-enforcement, neighborhood watch, and neighborhood associations in Seminole Heights for 6 years, I do not recall a single instance where an illegally rented garage apartment was the subject of controversy. I think as neighborhood annoyances go, it either doesn't exist or exists so rarely that most never encounter it.

And again, I propose the requirement that the owner must live on property and that the home remain zoned "single family". This means the owner must pay attention in so far as they come and go from their own residence and they still cannot rent out the house and granny flat at the same time. (If they do, how can they be a resident?)

Given my proposal, how is this any different than renting out a room?

Anonymous said...

I guess my point is that a situation like that (primary structure with accessory unit) would have to be policed to keep the property number of occupants and to ensure that the owner actually lives in the primary structure and given the City's track record and number of code issues to be dealt with I would imagine the speculators/investors would take advantage of this option to the neighborhood's detriment. There is a slum lord that turned a 800 sf(?) home at NW corner 10th and Osborne into a duplex (now vacant) with one family having the bathroom and the other the kitchen.
This stuff happens with or without rules and ordinances.

Anonymous said...

This is a very good stream of thought....

previous points to mention again

1. Code limits the number of people living in accessory dwelling units.

2. If an accessory dwelling unit is not metered separately from the primary structure it cannot be rented.

3. If I own a primary structure with a separately metered accessory dwelling unit, I cannot rent both the primary structure and the accessory structure with seperate leases. The two must be rented as one!

4. You can build an accessory dwelling unit in any single family zoning district and you can ask for a separate meter and a rental certificate in any single family zoning district. An accessory dwelling unit is not considered multifamily and therefore does not require a rezoning only a variance. You can do this at any time.

5. So it's all about code enforcement and what the City will and will not let you have!

a pebble or two into the collective stream.....

1. I can only imagine what will happen when a few acres along Florida or Nebraska go through a Plan Amendment for a nice mixed use project. What will SH residents say when two car lots become 10,000 sq ft of retail with 30 housing units above and behind?

2. So how much does your 1,000 sq ft bungalow need to be worth before you feel comfortable with the "Hyde Park" fashionable rentals proliferating throughout SH. (200K, 300K, 400K how much? before you comfortable with these rentals) If you find a accessory unit in Hyde Park for less than $1.25 a sq ft call me! I'm amazed at the amount of people who think that only unmentionables will be renting a granny flat or garage apartment. I'm also amazed that some people think that Tampa tries to integrate incomes!?! We don't do that well. I wish we did than we would actually have some even placed gentrification (I know bad word) throughout the city.

last word: Check out the Katrina Cottages available at Lowes

Anonymous said...

IFly 6:42 AM, I guess I should have mentioned that when we purchased there was no one living there and we didn't know it was an actual apartment. We assumed it was a storage garage. I would call the police but I am afraid of retaliation.

shawn-non-anonymous said...

I think a large mixed use retail/rental (or condo) construction in Nebraska would a very good thing provided it has enough parking (in the rear please) and has some sort of historic design elements. A structure that large could totally destroy any attempt to keep a generally historic theme going in the area.

Anonymous 10:05. You can go to the city web site and submit an anonymous complaint to code enforcement about a potentially illegal rental. You can also forward it to Susan Long (OSHNA code enforcement czarina) and she will submit it for you and can get back to you with whatever enforcement comes up with. This will protect you from retaliation. However, as we all know, code enforcement can vary in quality and speed.

Again, I don't think permitting granny flats within some limits will in any way worsen the illegal rental situation. In fact, I think it'll lessen it as good people who are currently "illegal" will join the legal program. You'd police absentee owners the same way we currently police illegal rentals. Esentially, if they become a nuisance enough to warrant action, you turn them in. Otherwise, you never even know and don't care.

Anonymous said...


I agree that a mixed use development on Nebraska would only be a positive thing but we part ways on the "historic recreation" look - historically there never was that type of mass development on Nebraska and I don't thing we need to "Mainstreet Disney" develop Nebraska and try to create a Williamsburg effect.

I think that any positive development on Nebraska is good and I would even welcome a Odessy 2001 style building (spaceship) if it kickstarted development in the'hood.

shawn-non-anonymous said...

Anon 7:04: :-)

Then we don't part ways by too much. Please don't confuse a desire for "historic elements" with a desire for a historic reproduction. I've seen quite a few modern designs that incorporate historic themes (columns, roof mass and pitch, etc) that would work for me just fine.

There were a number of buildings on Florida Ave and of course "Dis an Dat" that are the general size or style such a development is likely to take. (Big and rectangular to maximize interior space while creating available parking.) So throwing in a few of the design elements from these buildings (minus the gaping cracks) would be the sort of thing a good corporate neighbor would do.

The flip side to that is you get more construction like the Family Dollar, which is just a big tin shed. Big tin sheds don't jump-start a commercial district, they weigh it down.

In the case of the particular development mentioned, if I'm guessing correctly, a rare historic site is going to be demolished to make way for this new development. Seems to me if a developer is going to remove something of historic value (though currently in poor repair) they would be a nice developer if they replaced it with something that compensated for the loss.

And, if I may, it's interesting that you bring up Colonial Williamsburg. I agree something like that would be bad, however, it should be noted that we *all* know what Williamsburg is. It has a recognizeable brand. That sort of branding is part of what drives commercial development; how people percieve an area affects the demand for goods from that area. If we're known as a used car district, as an example, one would expect used car lots to pop up all over the place. [low blow, eh?] If we're known as a quaint shopping district, quaint shops would show up. So, the first large development that moves in and looks like Odessey 2001 will only complicate branding for our street as anything other than a cheap and cheesey area. Once the developer drops a "strip club" of that size on Nebraska, it's there for a VERY long time.

The happy middle ground would be something that attempted to incorporate some historic elements while still being built as a typical, dollar-conscious 2006 commercial property.

Anonymous said...


Note I said in the style of 2001 not USE but I agree and understand. That is why the Family Dollar across from Publix that is currently on the market at $1MM will stay a Family Dollar - anyone spending that kinda money will not kick out a paying tenant (with a multi-year lease) to upgrade.

Anonymous said...

The owner of Dis and dat was obviously trying to keep the structure.
She was also making repairs but probably didnt realize what she was getting into.
Thats why a real estate inspector is a good thing to invest in before you purchase a structure.
And speaking of inspectors, if the structure was in this bad of shape, what is code enforcment doing about it?

Anonymous said...

What was code doing...the same thing they always do...NUTTN'

Anonymous said...

Code was there. But it is not thier pervue. It is building that needed to pay attention.

Anonymous said...

........You'd police absentee owners the same way we currently police illegal rentals.

Are you kidding?

Is someone actually policing them in the hood. Other than neighbors? Not on your life!

Anonymous said...

Actually, correct me if I am worng but this is well within codes pervue if the building falls.
They were out at the Ybor building?
Same thing I believe.
The entire thing is withing codes pervue.

shawn-non-anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:50 am. Exactly my point.

But isn't that sufficient? Do I really care if my neighbor is renting illegaly _if_ the rental is creating no discomfort for me or others around me? Sure, from a purely "break the law" viewpoint, all illegal activity is "bad". (Just don't tell me that when I'm driving 60 in a 55, right? :-) )

If you're pissing off your neighbors and violating code, your neighbors have a means to fix things. If you're not pissing off your neighbors, then who cares? Why should the city spend its limited dollars on something so minor?

Anonymous said...

So then.. why do we need to change any code requirements. "don't ask, don't tell" works well if there are no noise, parking ,garbage issues and then if there are the City can get after the landlord for violating the code. So whats the big deal about changing any rules then? Sounds like the way it is currently functions correctly.

shawn-non-anonymous said...

Anon 1:31:

Yes, but only if the Granny Flat is existing. As I understand it, you cannot get a permit to construct one (with a full kitchen, etc) except with a variance that requires proof of relation to the person that will live there.

This means people might build their flats illegaly which opens up the question of sub-standard and unsafe construction and how that might affect the renters, their guests, or future owners. There may also be tax issues.

The point, though, is to make the desireable behavior legal (it is currently not legal) and the undesireable behavior illegal. It's a wierd world where we're more willing to let good people operate "under the table" in an illegal but accepted fashion just to prevent the need to enforce reasonable restrictions on undesireable behavior. Banning the whole thing just to avoid dealing with the occasional exception is the wrong way to go about this.

Anonymous said...

You are talking about two very different things here and making it confusing. Zoning code is different than building code. People will build structures without a permit regardless of what the zoning code says. The zoning code talks about permitted uses, densities etc. The building code is in place to ensure that structures are built safely and protect the health and welfare of the city.

You said there is already get a variance to legally put in a granny flat (which makes it legal)which sounds like a variance to the zoning code. So there already is a way for people to do that "above the table." And we still have control over limiting a primary use(ie no more than one unit)to each lot in our single family zoned areas of the neighborhood.

Just by changing the zoning code doesn't mean people won't build structures without a permit. I think that is a separate issue.

shawn-non-anonymous said...

Please let me clarify:

You can get a variance under only _one_ condition that I am aware of--the future resident must be related to you. (Mother, in-law, granny, etc)

If the goal is affordable housing in the area, limiting to legal relatives is too restrictive. We need the ability to legally construct these flats for any renter and not just relatives. So no, there is no "above the table" solution at this time except in one unusual and limited circumstance.

I disagree that they are a separate issue as one drives the other. You cannot get a permit to construct something that violates zoning. I cannot build an apartment complex on a single-family residential lot. It doesn't matter if I intend to use it as a single-family dwelling.