Senators back ‘granny pods’ for sick family
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota senators overwhelmingly support allowing elderly or disabled people, especially those nearing death, to live in small homes on family property.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota senators overwhelmingly support allowing elderly or disabled people, especially those nearing death, to live in small homes on family property.
“Some aging Minnesotans are put in a position that their housing needs are not adequately met,” Sen. John Hoffman, D-Champlin, said about his bill Monday.
The legislation would make it legal, unless a local government bans it, to allow temporary trailer-like homes to be placed on caregivers’ land, even if zoning ordinances otherwise would not allow it. The homes could be located there for up to a year, and the resident must be under health care.
The homes would be limited to 300 square feet.
“I would ask that we all say yes to grandpa and grandma,” Hoffman said.
Senators agreed on a 50-15 vote. A similar bill awaits House approval.
Called “granny pods,” the little homes usually would not meet local regulations.
Hoffman’s bill allows cities and counties to opt out if they do not want the homes in their communities.
Sen. Carla Nelson, R-Rochester, questioned whether all local governments would know they need to change their rules if the bill passes and they want to allow the health homes.
“They may not know about granny pods,” Nelson complained.
Sen. Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake, who prefers to call them “tiny homes,” said he would prefer to see them allowed for more than a year. “That is getting pretty close to the end of life, if you can predict it that close.”
However, he added, he supports the concept of “looking at innovative, less expensive ways of staying close to their family or whoever is taking care of them.”
Hoffman said the average stay in such homes is 44 days.