The Group Voice:

Housing and development have been important issues in our community because of the changing times in Sonoma County and California. In response to these changes, an ordinance enabling housing projects was a major topic at the recent Cotati City Council meeting.

Cotati City Council voted to introduce and conduct a first reading of an ordinance that would allow cottages to be housed in the city. Cottage apartments are characterized by compact living units with shared open spaces that encourage a strong sense of community. The regulation aims to support the increased demand for housing in Cotati.

In response to the state’s housing shortage and high housing costs, the regulation is supported by an SB2 planning grant. Cotati received the $ 160,000 SB2 Planning Grant to implement housing availability increase programs in 2019. This ordinance is followed by an extended schedule of development, public workshops, planning committee hearings, and city council hearings.

The council had a lot of discussions around cabin accommodation, which covered parking spaces, minimum size, private areas, common areas, building separation and other items from the staff report that led to changes in the regulation.

Cottages differ from lower-density homes in that the houses are smaller, closer together, and grouped in groups of 12-18. The minimum units of 500 square meters include private outdoor space and parking spaces.

The council was keen to ensure that the regulation included private rooms and areas as almost every neighborhood in Cotati had some sort of small covered porch to create a sense of community.

Jesus Guzman of Generation Housing, a non-profit advocating housing construction, submitted a letter of support for the Cottage Housing Ordinance and made public comments. “We strongly support tonight’s cottage housing regulation. As the staff presentation notes, this regulation will go a long way towards providing smaller, more efficient and more affordable housing in Cotati, which will make a significant contribution to diversifying the city’s housing stock and helping to better meet the needs of residents, ”said Guzman during public comments.

Cottage apartments illustrate how design can make smaller homes affordable and promote sustainable development. They can diversify the housing stock in the city and each offer a centrally located common open space that promotes a sense of community and openness within the hut development.

Cottage enclosures would also allow up density and design flexibility with many architectural styles. Nevertheless, the city council wants to ensure that the character of existing residential areas is preserved and that the historical development of Cotati is represented.

“I very much support this regulation. I think this will encourage a lot of new developments that use the shared space to create a real sense of community, ”said Councilor Laura Sparks.

The next reading and the likely adoption of cottage apartments will be discussed at the next council meeting on July 27th. For more information on the Cottage Housing Ordinance and the upcoming session, visit the Cotati City website.

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