First pre-approved granny flat unveiled for San Jose program

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- ABC7 News got a sneak peek at the first pre-approved accessory dwelling unit model under San Jose's new master plan program, which aims to make the design and permitting process easier for residents who are looking to build a backyard cottage.

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Built by Redwood City-based Abodu, it's billed as a no-compromise solution that can increase your property's value and its livable space.

The 495 sq. ft. model home costs $199,000 and is highly customizable.

"Everything from the exterior materials, to the roof, to appliances on the inside, the colors of the floor, the paint... all those things can be customized to match a homeowner's liking," said Abodu co-founder Eric McInerney.

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City officials believe these granny lists could go a long way in helping to ease the Bay Area's housing crunch and they hope the pre-approved plans will speed things up for potential builders.

"You're shaving off all that decision-making time that would go into a custom-built ADU, you know, how big is it going to be, where do the rooms go, what kind of kitchen is it, all of those decisions are already made," said Cheryl Wessling with the city's planning, building, and code enforcement department.

On Tuesday afternoon, the city council will consider a loan forgiveness program worth up to $20,000 for residents who are willing to rent out their backyard homes as affordable housing for five years.

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"The fees cost about $20,000. That's a huge impediment to some people who want to build affordable housing in their backyard, so the forgivable loan will enable us to help folks get into those ADUs," said San Jose city councilmember Pam Foley.

From ordering to construction, and then on-site installation, Abodu officials say the homes can be finished and ready for move-in within three months.

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