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Hobbs signs housing bills on middle housing and casitas

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(The Center Square) – Two bipartisan housing bills were signed into law in Arizona earlier this week.

House Bills 2720 and 2721 legalize accessory dwelling units in certain sized municipalities statewide and enable more “middle housing” like duplexes and triplexes to be built within certain parameters. Both bills require municipalities with 75,000 people or more to adopt ordinances in accordance with state law.

It was unclear at first if Gov. Katie Hobbs was going to sign the bills, as there was concern from the Arizona League of Cities and Towns that the ADU bill would allow a loophole for them to be used as short-term rentals, The Center Square reported. ADUs, also known as casitas, are defined in HB2720 as “a self-contained living unit” with an area separate from a single-family home with an area for “sleeping and sanitation.”

“I’m glad the legislature heard my calls to come to the table to pass common sense, bipartisan legislation that will expand housing options and help mitigate the effects of rising costs to make life more affordable for everyday Arizonans,” Hobbs said in a statement.

“Moving forward, I hope we can work together to address short-term rentals that displace long-term community residents and crack down on speculation by out-of-state real estate investors that drives up the cost of housing for Arizonans,” she added regarding short-term rental concerns, which have become popular with platforms like AirBNB and Vrbo.

The sponsor of both bills, Rep. Michael Carbone, R-Buckeye, said it was a step in the right direction for fixing the state’s housing crisis.

“I’m pleased to have the Governor sign my two bills into law, which will help mitigate the effects of rising housing costs and ensure that our teachers, nurses, firefighters, police officers, and families can live in the communities they serve and love,” he said in a statement. “Importantly, the legislation reinforces a homeowner’s right to use their property as they see fit which, for some, may include adding accommodations for multigenerational housing or to generate additional income.”

Sen. Anna Hernandez, who has been a major advocate for affordable housing in the state Senate, praised the signatures from Hobbs as “something that will benefit generations to come.”

The governor signed two other notable housing-related bills this year, including one allowing for “adaptive reuse” of commercial buildings. However, the Democrat received flack from both sides of the aisle for her veto of the “Arizona Starter Homes Act” that would have given the state more power over municipalities to cut certain housing regulations.

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