• Chamber advocates for housing stock, supports Accessory Dwelling Unit law

    September 11, 2017
    On September 11, 2017, the Chamber issued the following letter to the City of San Rafael Planning Commission:

    Dear Commissioners:
    On behalf of the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce, which represents 625 Marin County businesses with over 26,000 employees, I write to express our support for the City of San Rafael to use the current State Accessory Dwelling Unit Law (adopted January 1, 2017) and make any adjustments as needed over time, if issues arise out of second and accessory dwelling units (ADU) that get built in our city.
    The Chamber has a long-standing policy of supporting legislation and reforms that are needed to increase the housing supply, especially in areas where jobs are located and we ask that the Planning Commission consider adopting the State Law so that we can remove any barriers to actually getting ADUs built. Access to housing is one of the greatest issues facing employers and employees in Marin and we need more—not less—housing.
    According to the California Department of Housing and Community Development, California renters, about 3 million households, pay more than 30 percent of their income towards rent. And nearly one third- more than 1.5 million households- pay more than half of their income towards rent. And Marin is not excluded from these statistics. The average renter in Marin County makes just $19.21 an hour and would need to work 77 hours a week to afford a studio apartment at the $1,915-a-month market rate, according to data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
    The City of San Rafael took a very progressive lead for allowing this type of innovative housing by passing an ADU ordinance way before other local jurisdictions and the Chamber believes that the State built on the great work that San Rafael started. Through the help of local Marin resident, Rachel Ginis, ED of Lilypad Homes, the State law took San Rafael’s exceptional ordinance and made a few adjustments to remove the final barriers of housing.  Under the State law, applications for ADU permits are rising and it is having a beneficial impact.
    By adopting the State Law, it will give a home owner an easier and more affordable path to creating an ADU in their home, and will open the door for more of our workforce to live where they work.
    Please consider adopting the State ADU law to encourage interested home owners to build livable, rentable spaces for our workforce.

    Joanne Webster
    President and CEO

    Emily Maloney, Marketing and Program Manager
    (415) 454-4163