The state of California is doing something about ''granny'' units - those controversial independent living quarters badly needed in many locations to house relatives, newly marrieds, and other renters.
Legislation recently passed here requires all local governments in the state to make provisions for second-unit housing by July 1. At that deadline, local zoning must be designated for second units, standards must be set up, or companion units must be allowed to be constructed within existing homes.
Critics of the ''in-law'' expansion idea believe its use could congest areas of larger homes, could crowd older-home living space, and perhaps strain existing public facilities. Exponents who helped develop the new state regulations point out that the development of second units is the logical way to expand affordable housing. Since there is no added land cost, and water, sewer, and other service systems are in place, there can be a saving of up to 40 percent against costs of new construction, the Department of Housing believes.