Granny Flats Get Go-Ahead

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It’s official. You can rent that upstairs bedroom. Even convert your garage for Grandma.

The Payson Town Council on Thursday adopted the long-awaited “granny flat” law, in hopes of providing fresh options to ease the town’s severe shortage of “affordable” housing.

The law will legalize an already widespread practice. Current law essentially forbids converting space to rentals. The new law, modeled on a Sedona ordinance, would allow rental units with their own kitchens up to a certain maximum size — providing they match the architecture of the main house.

Nancy Edwards, who rents properties in Payson, supported the ordinance. “I don’t think Payson has enough affordable rentals. We could use these accessory dwelling units — it would help out. People are working two jobs to pay the rent and moving back to the Valley because of the cost of housing.”

Mayor Kenny Evans said, “Much of this is going on in the community informally. This is just going to make it above board.”

Councilor Mike Vogel noted, however, that the ordinance would still limit the options for rental units on single-family lots. “I just want an assurance — no fifth wheels, no travel trailers, none of that stuff.”

The planning commission spent more than a year pondering the issue, holding several public hearings that almost no one attended. In the end, they decided to base Payson’s ordinance on a law in Sedona that addresses the same problem.

The new law still bans rental trailers and limits the square footage of the rental units to a percentage of the size of the main house. Property owners could have only one rental per property.

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