Q: ADU’s—What are they?

A: In the old days, prior to the more restrictive zoning rules in place, it was easy to build an additional dwelling on a property. For example, as a farmer’s family grew, they would build another home on the farm to accommodate their needs. Today it is not that simple.

We work within an ordinance called Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s). Some municipalities call them Granny Flats. All jurisdictions have rules on what and if you can build an additional living unit on an existing property which already has a home.

A common rule is that the new living unit must be no larger than 25% of the existing home. We have experienced some difficulty when the existing home is smaller. If an existing home is 1500 square feet then the ADU can only be a maximum of 375 square feet. Sometimes 375 square feet is inadequate.

Dual living is a growing segment of the housing market. We see 3 or 4 generations living within one household. Sometimes there is a cultural reason others have health related issues and some it is purely economic.

We build homes that have dual masters that accommodate this need under one roof top. Others we build a separate living unit unattached to the existing home. This is where the ADU ordinance comes into play. The rules can be frustrating. Did you know the new unit cannot have a stove? Seems a bit odd but true.

Many of our current rules and ordinances need updating for this growing market. As those who enjoy reading the paper are more likely to vote, I urge you to look into your local ordinances regarding ADU’s. One day it might be helpful for you.

Happy Holidays and be safe.

I also enjoy reading the paper daily. Thank you for doing so.

Please submit questions to jon@quailhomes.com Jon can be reached direct at 360.907.5800. Tune into Green Building with Jon Girod on 1550 a.m. on Saturdays at 9 am. See you next week!