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Tucson now allows accessory buildings at residences

Accessory structures, known as casitas or tiny homes, are now allowed at Tucson residences.
Accessory structures, known as casitas or tiny homes, are now allowed at Tucson residences.(KOLD News 13)
Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 11:03 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The city of Tucson is looking at the bigger picture by going smaller.

Call them casitas-granny flats, mother-in-laws, they’re all the same. Current zoning laws don’t allow for them to be built, but that could soon change.     

These under 1000 square feet homes aim to help with the city’s growing housing crisis, providing more low-cost options and also give homeowners a chance to create additional income.      

“Over half of the renters in Tucson are housing cost burdens which means they are spending more than 30% of their income on housing.” Rincon Heights resident Colby Henley said. “I think they strike a really good balance because they provide housing, they provide some additional income so it could help some homeowners stay in their homes.”

But as the president of his neighborhood association, he’s heard many concerns about the small homes being used for student housing with the university so close. The public comment period is allowing for them to voice those concerns.     

There are also those concerned about the homes becoming short term rentals, like Airbnbs, which could lead to parking congestion in their neighborhoods.      

Once public comment wraps up, a final proposal could be on the mayor and council’s desks in June. Then, if approved, building could start in the summer.

The city also approved a new water differential plan, under which Tucson Water will charge higher rates for thousands of customers who do not live in incorporated areas.

The city says a study shows it costs more more to provide water to customers outside city limits. The county disagrees, and says the city study is flawed, but has not yet said whether they plan to fight the decision.

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