There’s no escaping talk of the local housing shortage, and given that the Bay Area is among the fastest-growing job markets in the nation, the talk won’t be stopping anytime soon. But more housing density is considered a threat to Marin’s famed open spaces. Many residents are against new construction, and recent conservation-minded funding approved by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission bolsters efforts to preserve even more open space. However, a movement is afoot that may appease both sides. Following Tiburon’s and Novato’s cue, San Rafael is the latest city in Marin to approve junior second units. The mini units are converted from existing spaces — backyard cottages, garages, spare rooms — into private apartments with basic amenities, including a separate entrance. The benefits are many: homeowners get a second income, and tenants get access to affordable housing. Leaders in Fairfax, Larkspur and Belvedere are considering similar laws.
This article originally appeared in Marin Magazine’s print edition under the headline: “Think Small.“
Kasia Pawlowska loves words. A native of Poland, Kasia moved to the States when she was seven. The San Francisco State University creative writing graduate went on to write for publications like the San Francisco Bay Guardian and KQED Arts among others prior to joining the Marin Magazine staff. Topics Kasia has covered include travel, trends, mushroom hunting, an award-winning series on social media addiction and loads of other random things. When she’s not busy blogging or researching and writing articles, she’s either at home writing postcards and reading or going to shows. Recently, Kasia has been trying to branch out and diversify, ie: use different emojis. Her quest for the perfect chip is never-ending.