Juneau Assembly approves bigger grants for building mother-in-law apartments

a cloudy downtown
Downtown Juneau seen from across Gastineau Channel on Aug. 11, 2023. (Andrés Javier Camacho/KTOO)

Juneau residents interested in building mother-in-law apartments can now get even larger grants from the city to help with construction costs. They’ll just have to wait a few more years until they can list them as short-term rentals.

At a meeting Monday night, the Juneau Assembly voted to update a grant program that helps residents build accessory apartments on their property. The previous version, which offered $6,000 grants, expired in June. The new grants will be $13,500.

The previous version of the program required that grant recipients wait three years before renting the unit as a short-term rental. Reading from the resolution, Deputy Mayor Maria Gladziszewski suggested that increasing the wait to five years could help prioritize new housing for Juneau residents.

“That’s the purpose of this,” she said. “It’s not to create short-term rentals.” 

Assembly member Michelle Hale worried that further restrictions would dissuade people from participating in the program.

“Communities that have a lot of rules and have a lot of restrictions in place are much less successful overall at building housing,” she said. “I think we need to accelerate housing building, rather than put requirements in place.”

The amendment passed in a 5-2 vote, with Hale and Wade Bryson voting against increasing the short-term rental limit. Assembly members Christine Woll and ‘Wáahlaal Gíidaak were absent from Monday’s meeting.

Once amended, the resolution passed unanimously.

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