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Jul 28, 2023

Accessory Dwelling units, or ADU’s, are a growing building type in America. Wander through the neighborhoods of most West Coast cities and you will begin to spot them. This primer will outline some of the reasons that ADU’s are beneficial for homeowners, communities, and jurisdictions. In the coming weeks, I will present more information about ADU’s and how their impact has affected communities.

You may not know that your neighborhood is already home accessory dwelling units. Over the last decade plus homeowners have been using this building typology to increase the value of their property.  Although this does provide baseline value of your property, a major benefit is the potential to build a stream of passive income for your family. In many instances, ADU’s are used as long term rentals. It is common however, to use them as vacation or AirBnB properties or as a way to provide intergenerational housing options as families grow and change. Developing a property with this in mind can provide housing for a college student as they grow into adults or for an aging parent who is capable but will eventually need family support. For all of these reasons, constructing an ADU on your property can provide significant long-term benefits.

For cities, the benefit of allowing ADU’s considers several factors. First and foremost they provide additional housing options for local residents in a time where populous areas are facing housing scarcity. ADU’s are considered “soft density” in that they provide homes in a way that factors in the existing scale and fabric of the area. (More on this later) Additionally, there is a belief that having more residents in a community will create a more healthy and interconnected community. Finally, installing ADU’s in central neighborhoods, will maximize the value of existing public investment in the neighborhood. These new residents will able to easily access existing infrastructure such as schools, utilities, public transit networks, and amenities such as the parks and trails that the city has invested in.

As you can see, this is a rich topic with many factors to consider. In the coming months I will share my knowledge and research as well as some of the insights we have discovered working on this kind of project at HAVEN DESIGN WORKSHOP. If this is something that is new to you or you have questions, feel free to reach out to us through the “contact us” form. I look forward to sharing more about this topic with you.

 

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