The rule, unheard of to most people, sparked outrage a few weeks ago when a few neighbors used it as justification to try to force Jamie Durfee, a Santa Fe resident who was renting a casita, out of her home. She was served with a notice of code violation on March 5 and has been contesting the situation ever since.
A fix proposed by four city councilors is making its way through public hearings. It's on the Planning Commission agenda for Thursday's 6 pm meeting. Before it lands at City Council in May, it is first set to appear on the agenda for the Public Works and Finance committees.
The amendment—sponsored by councilors Peter Ives, Joanne Vigil Coppler, Roman Abeyta and Signe Lindell —would replace the current wording of the building code, which says that accessory dwelling units cannot be rented to different parties than the main house, with a line that allows them to do so. Land Use Department have recommended passage of the amendment in a memo.
The amendment would also add language that on-street parking abutting the subject property may considered as adequate parking for tenants, but reiterates that such parking "may not be reserved for the exclusive use of occupants of the abutting property."
Parking has been a major battleground for neighbors on Don Cubero Avenue, where Durfee lives. She created a Facebook event asking friends to attend the commission meeting and ask its members to support the rule change.
"There are a series of public hearings over the next two months that will lead up to a final City Council vote on May 29th but THE MOST IMPORTANT OF THESE MEETINGS before Council is coming up this Thursday, April 4th at the Planning Commission Hearing on Accessory Dwelling Unit Code Changes at City Council Chambers: 200 Lincoln Ave, Santa Fe," Durfee wrote on her Facebook event's page.
"This bill is designed to open up additional housing options without the need for large-scale new developments," according to a fiscal impact report of the proposed amendment. "Housing in the City is at a premium and this bill would create an immediate supply of additional housing options throughout the City."