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Posted on: December 24, 2020

Accessory Dwelling Units

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The Mayor and Board of Alderman are continuing conversations about the future use of accessory dwelling units (or ADUs) in the City. The City encourages residents and community members to remain active in this conversation, to ask questions, and provide feedback. At this moment, there is not a resolution presented for review or vote as staff continues to develop and research based on community feedback to date.


Planning Commission Workshop on June 14, 2021 (2PM) | Report

What is an ADU?

 An accessory dwelling unit is a second unit that is subordinate to the primary residence. An accessory dwelling unit can be attached (ADU) or an accessory detach dwelling unit (ADDU). Typically, an ADU is an apartment in or above a garage (attached or detached), a detached unit in the backyard or an apartment inside the primary residence. 

Generally, ADU's having the following characteristics: 

  • ADUs are accessory to a primary housing unit.
  • ADUs are significantly smaller than the primary residence. 
  • ADUs tend to be one of two units owned by one owner on a single-family residential lot. 
  • ADU s tend to be primarily developed asynchronously from the primary house by homeowner developers.

Recently there has been a new type of ADU called a Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit. A junior ADU is also an independent living unit, but with a much smaller size allowance (typically 500 square feet), located inside the walls of a single-family home, but with a separate entry from the primary residence. So, a smaller garage unit or ground-floor efficiency with a bathroom and private entrance could fall into the "Junior ADU" category. This unit can have an efficiency kitchen but not a full kitchen. ADU's are also known as granny flats, in-law apartments, or backyard cottages, secondary units, basement apartments. 

Additional information shared at a most recent discussion at a Mayor and Board of Aldermen Workshop

What is currently permitted?

The Land Management Code (LMC) Section 802 allows for accessory detached dwelling units to be approved by the Planning Commission as part of the approval of the Master Plan. Section 802 prohibits ADUs on existing lots of record.  

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