Friday, March 15, 2019

ADU ordinance: What to know

Posted By on Fri, Mar 15, 2019 at 6:00 PM

click to enlarge City Council will vote on whether to allow accessory dwelling units in single-family zones. - CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • City of Colorado Springs
  • City Council will vote on whether to allow accessory dwelling units in single-family zones.

Colorado Springs city staff is pushing an ordinance that would expand the use of accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, across the city.  The city held a series of open houses on the proposed ordinance in February, and City Council first formally discussed it at its March 11 work session.

ADUs, also known as in-law units, are secondary apartments on a residential lot or within the main home. They might be above a detached garage, in a converted attic or basement, or in a separate unit, and must include a sleeping area, bathroom and kitchen. Currently, city code allows the units within two-family zones, multi-family zones and some commercial areas, but the ordinance would expand their use to single-family zones — thus increasing the number of parcels eligible for ADUs from 9,400 to 68,000.
Such units could theoretically provide affordable housing for aging parents, disabled or dependent adult children, or low-income renters.

But at Council's last work session, Councilors Don Knight and Andy Pico voiced concerns about pushing through the ordinance, worrying that it would essentially eliminate single-family housing zone districts by allowing homeowners to build additional units. They said neighborhoods are worried about preserving their architectural integrity.

Councilors Jill Gaebler and Richard Skorman argued the ordinance was necessary for adding affordable and attainable housing across the city.

One compromise floated by Councilor David Geislinger would be to allow only attached ADUs in single-family zone districts.

Here's a rundown of what the ordinance currently includes:
  • Allow both detached ADUs and "integral" (attached) ADUs in all residential zones. Integral ADUs would require an interior connection in single-family zones. (Individual homeowners associations could choose to prohibit ADUs altogether.)
  • The current parking requirement for ADUs (one off-street space per ADU) would remain the same across all zone districts.
  • Depending on the zone district, roof pitch and whether the property is adjacent to an alley, maximum height could be 20, 25 or 28 feet. (The current maximum is 25 feet for all ADUs.)
  • Increase the maximum ADU size from 750 square feet to 1,250 square feet, or up to 50 percent of the main home's finished floor area.
  • The 20 feet of required separation from a primary home would no longer be required, and distance would depend on Regional Building Department requirements. Principal Planner Mike Schultz says most ADUs would require about 10 feet of separation.
  • In single-family zones, the property owner would be required to occupy either the principal home or the ADU as their primary residence.
If you're interested in knowing where the ordinance stands and when you can comment, here's some dates to know:

March 21, 8:30 a.m.:

The planning commission will vote on whether to recommend the ordinance to City Council at its regular meeting. It could also recommend that city staff make changes to the ordinance. (No opportunity for public comment)
Location: City Council Chambers, 107 N. Nevada Ave.

6 to 7:30 p.m.: District 1 Councilor Don Knight will hold a town hall for constituents to ask questions about the proposed ordinance and provide feedback.
Location: Chipeta Elementary Gymnasium, 2340 Ramsgate Terrace

March 26, 1 p.m.:

First City Council reading. (Public comment allowed)
Location: City Council Chambers, 107 N. Nevada Ave.

April 9, 1 p.m.:

Second City Council reading. (Public comment allowed)
Location, City Council Chambers, 107 N. Nevada Ave.

Here's a draft of the full ordinance:

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