The people spoke and the Ventura City Council listened. On Monday, June 20, the Council voted 5-1 to expand amnesty for owners of unpermitted second dwelling units, also called granny flats. The grace period was moved from 1987 to 2004.
The ordinance before the Council provided that if owners of granny flats could prove the units existed before 1987, units would be exempt from city zoning rules. But a source of contention among Ventura housing advocates centered around the units that were built between 1987 and 2004. Those units would have been required to meet current city code, or face thousands of dollars in fines and additional costs to make improvements on the units, if amnesty had not been granted.
Detractors of the ordinance said shuttering potentially thousands of granny flats would perpetuate a rise in homelessness.
But after hours of debate and hearing from citizens against the 1987 cutoff, the Council as recommended by City Attorney Ariel Calonne decided to rewrite the ordinance with a 2004 amnesty date and bring it back to Council chambers next month.