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Push to legalize ‘granny cottages’ in Lake Worth Beach

Posted at 7:06 PM, Jun 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-24 19:06:57-04

LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla.-- For Marina Desiderio, her personal piece of paradise is her cottage in Lake Worth Beach.

“Most of this area is known for the abundance of mangoes especially this time of year,” she said.

The historic areas in Lake Worth Beach are also known for its accessory dwelling units commonly referred to as granny cottages.

“They can have their house they can shut their door and they can have their kitchen,” Desiderio said. “They can cook whatever they want and I’m in my house just a yard away.”

But not every homeowner in Lake Worth Beach is allowed to have a granny cottage. In fact, in most cases, the unit has to be grandfathered in.

“Grandview Heights I know allows granny cottages it’s legal and doesn’t make sense that we don’t at the end of the day people are renting them so might as well do it legally than have it be illegal,” Desiderio said.

Lake Worth Beach Commissioner Omari Hardy is fighting to change the perception of grandma cottages because he believes it could help provide families with additional income.

“I do think it can create extra affordable units, but the real thing for me is the fact that creates a family housing solution,” Hardy said.

He created a petition in hopes of starting a new conversation about the unique cottages.

“This is something that allows property owners to put something extra on their property that can rent out to a relative, family member to an aging parent or to someone that can help pay their bills. In keeping with a single-family neighborhood,” he said.

Mary K Santoyo lives in the college park area and she says she supports granny cottages in her neighborhood as long as there’s a limited number of people living in the small space.

“We don’t want a free for all where it’s a big party house. Where there’s people in and out,” she said.

The conversation on granny cottages will continue, Tuesday at a public workshop at Lake Worth Beach City Hall.