“For many years, backyard cottages — also known as granny flats, mother-in-law suites, or accessory dwelling units (ADUs) — were treated as nuisance uses, outlawed in urban and suburban zoning codes around the country. But as affordable housing becomes ever more scarce, cities are beginning to look at liberalizing rules for building ADUs, as a way of adding cheaper, more diffuse housing supply in tight markets.” – Next City
Ordinance Passed in SLC
After nearly a decade in the works, Salt Lake City has a new Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance (ADU). The ordinance passed on Tuesday, October 16, will allow local residents to build ADUs on their properties.
“Building new housing is expensive,” says Moses Gates, director of community planning and design at the RPA. “There’s not a lot of land, construction is expensive, and if you’re going to build enough housing to meet our housing demand, it’s easier and less expensive to utilize the physical environment we already have and the buildings we already have as kind of a little bit of low-hanging fruit.”
“The ADU ordinance for Salt Lake City spent years in development as pushback from residents in the city’s most affluent neighborhoods resulted in delays, revisions and eventually a proposed ADU boundary that would exclude those neighborhoods from the ordinance.
“The boundary controversy resulted in additional delays after several groups noted that under state law the proposed ADU boundary would be illegal as it favored affluent neighborhoods over lower-income neighborhoods. In December 2017, the council voted to delay a vote on the ADU ordinance until the boundary issue could be resolved.
“The ADU ordinance council approved no longer includes the proposed boundary, meaning ADU’s can be built citywide. But the ADU ordinance includes a set of guidelines that the city hopes will mitigate the impact of ADU in the city’s lowest-density neighborhoods. The guidelines focus on parking, building footprint and property ownership requirements.” – Building Salt Lake City
ADUs are a Great Idea
“I think [ADUs] are a great idea because they’re generally going to be smaller, they’re in unused spaces, and we’re running out of space to build new buildings, I totally support it, but they just need to be careful.” – Jennifer Fieber, political campaign director for the San Francisco Tenants Union
There have been many limitations and regulations put on ADU building in Salt Lake City, however, we know what these are and we are able to help homeowners navigate the red tape.
“The biggest thing California is doing is taking a statewide approach. What is going to solve the problem is scale, and you don’t reach scale by picking away at a few blocks here and a neighborhood there. The state has to step in with some real muscle to make a solution scalable.” – Moses Gates, director of community planning and design at the RPA
ADUs have been successful in many cities like San Fransisco, Portland, Seattle and more. We look forward to serving all of Utah with their ADU success!