CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) -- The city of Chula Vista is hoping "Granny Flats" will help ease the county's affordable housing crisis.
Tuesday night, the city council unanimously voted to approve a series of changes designed to make it cheaper and easier to apply for a permit to build a granny flat or "accessory dwelling unit."
The ordinance brings the city into state compliance. California lawmakers passed a measure last year loosening the regulation and reducing some fees associated with building.
Chula Vista added a regulation aimed at preventing the units from becoming short-term vacation rentals. Under Chula Vista's ordinance, the homeowner must live on the property.
Max Zaker owns a real estate company in Eastlake. He's also running for Chula Vista City Council. He said the city must find a way to keep up with its growth.
"The average price for a two-bedroom condo is about $1,700 to $1,800 a month, so imagine a kid right out of college, they just got their first job. There's no way they're going to be able to afford it. So, if there was a granny flat they could stay at home," said Zaker.
The new rules also eliminate parking requirements in some cases. If the property is located within half a mile from a public transit stop, the homeowner is no longer required to provide parking.
"The whole idea is to make these affordable and less cumbersome and less excessive requirements," said Michael Walker, Chula Vista's senior planner.
Walker estimates the reduction in fees could be a savings of roughly $8,500.
On average, the city only gets roughly 10 permit applications a month. City leaders hope that will change with the relaxed rules.
"We are hoping this will encourage other types of residential development to happen in Chula Vista so we can increase our housing stock because we have to," said Zaker.
A second reading is required before the ordinance is officially passed.
The new rules are expected to go into effect in May.