ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Mayor Tim Keller has signed off on a controversial change to allow homeowners to build casitas. By a slim 5-4 vote, Albuquerque City Council approved a measure last month allowing additional dwelling units or casitas to be built in neighborhoods with R1 zoning which was previously limited to single-family homes only.

Proponents said it addresses Albquuerque’s housing crisis but opponents fear it’ll only cause other problems. The ordinance is part of Mayor Keller’s “Housing Forward Plan” to address the city’s housing crisis.

But what would encourage homeowners to actually build casitas and rent them out? Officials said they’re looking at other cities for ideas. Los Angeles, for example, offers forgivable loans to homeowners to build casitas if they agree to accept tenants on housing vouchers. According to Mikaela Renz-White with the City of Albuquerque Planning Department, the city is looking into a similar program that would help middle-income people build casitas and not just those who can already afford to build one.

The ordinance does not have rules on how big a lot can be to include a casita but does say people cannot use more than 25% of their back or side yard for one.