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Planning commission ignores city ordinance, gives resident go-ahead to build ‘granny flat'

April 09, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE

Staff Writer

CALEXICO — The city Planning Commission here allowed Carlos Marin to build a "granny flat" on his M. Acuna Street property that will be detached from his main house.

According to the city ordinance governing "granny flats," he's not supposed to do that.

The commission decided to ignore the requirement of having the flat attached to the house because previous applicants for "granny flats" have built dwellings on their property as detached units.

According to city ordinance, all "granny flats" — small residences equipped at least with a bathroom and a kitchen — should be attached to the main house and occupied by a senior citizen or a disabled person.


Marin is planning to have his 73-year-old mother-in-law move into the flat. There was no problem there. She's definitely a "granny." What the commission debated Monday night was whether to allow Marin to build a flat separate from his house.

City Planning Director Ricardo Hinojosa said other homeowners in town have abused the "granny flat" permit by building dwellings on their property to rent the flats

"When they are cited for an improper use they try to legalize the structure by asking for it to be a granny flat," Hinojosa said.

Regarding Marin's application, Hinojosa said, "He would not comply within a strict definition of the existing ordinance."

To stay within the bounds of the city ordinance, Commissioner Armando Zuniga asked Marin if he'd be willing to attach his flat to the house.

He said, "Oh no, I don't want that. We're not here to point fingers but why, when I'm trying to do things legally and coming forward, am I getting run around?"

Marin noted that five of his neighbors have built flats on their property that aren't legal.

Of one neighbor, Marin said, "He doesn't have no seniors. He's renting to young women."

Mulling the issue before the board, commission Chairman John Moreno said, "We've already allowed two (permits for "granny flats" detached from the main house) and all of the neighbors were notified of this hearing, right?"

"They were notified," Hinojosa said.

"And nobody's here," Moreno noted.

Commissioner Richard Romero said, "In the future we need to start adhering to the original ordinance."

Zuniga made a motion to approve Marin's request but he added an amendment that would make it the last legally detached "granny flat."

His motion was approved by a 5-0 vote. Marin thanked each commissioner.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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