Want a Home With More Space? Consider an ADU First

August 4, 2020
Office in backyard
By Iriana Shiyan

Nearly 1.4 million single-family properties currently house some sort of accessory dwelling unit, whether it be a guest house, in-law suite... or home schoolhouse? Housing Design Matters offers the idea that with recent changes in how we use our homes, it could be easier and more logical to go the ADU route than purchasing an entirely new home. An ADU could become a homeowner’s remote home office, schoolhouse, escape for the parents, guest house, or home gym. These units are poised to meet nearly every need: a separate work space outside of the home, updated technology and features, even acting as a quiet, private space to escape. 

From a zoning perspective, if a space has a range or cook-top, it is considered an additional dwelling and thus not allowed in single-family zoning. Additionally, they argue that it aggravates parking problems that already haunt many older single-family communities that only accommodate parking for two cars – long before cars were affordable for teenage drivers. But don’t worry, I’ll explain how this is applicable to new communities as well! Stay with me!

Let’s examine some uses, evaluate their true potential and see if we can win the zoning argument.

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Comments

Submitted by Vicki M (not verified) on Tue, 08/04/2020 - 16:42

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I love the concept on every level but zoning won't. Even in subdivisions without covenants, even on a dirt road, we live in an era where big brother wants to tell you what you can and can't do and if they don't there is someone with a big wallet or related to them that will influence them. Gone are the days of buying property of any size much less a 1/4 acre lot and being able to determine what you want to do on your property. With all the affordable housing issues and covid-19 you would want to believe changes could be possible. I think urban areas may be more inclined (even with parking issues) to evolve than rural America. In my grandparents day they would own farm land and parcel off sections for children to building their homes and zoning laws were not existent. I believe if a person buys land/home in area with covenants part of the price is the protection of their property values. If there are no covenants stay out of people's business and allow them to build an ADU. Zoning laws have gone extreme. What is worse is that if zoning approves it per the law, commissioners and other elected officials can ignore the zoning commission and vote against a proposal at the desire of special interest or special friends.
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