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City Council discussing relaxation of Accessory Dwelling Units restrictions

Posted at 7:45 AM, Jun 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-10 09:47:36-04

COLORADO SPRINGS – City Council will discuss the idea of relaxing certain zoning restrictions in order to encourage construction of more affordable housing. These units called Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs, are defined as “any type of unit that provides sleeping, bathing, and cooking facilities within a particular unit.”

Sometimes ADUs are attached to the main home like a converted basement or attic. Other accessory dwelling units are built on top of a detached garage, or as a stand-alone cottage or separate house.

Today’s discussion begins at 1 p.m. in council chambers. While there isn’t a public comment session during work sessions, you can do so at a later date during a regular council meeting. Comcast and Century Link customers can watch live on channel 18.

Why is the city looking at ADUs as a solution? Here’s 6 primary points in the presentation to council:

  1. Add housing stock for families in neighborhoods where new apartment complexes would be difficult to construct while maintaining manageable neighborhood density
  2. Assist families by helping parents age in place
  3. Assist families with dependent and disabled adult children or other family members in need
  4. Offer additional housing stock at a variety of price points
  5. Assist families with “boomerang children” who may return home
  6. Provide an opportunity homeowners to invest in their property

Mike Schultz, a principal planner with the City of Colorado Springs, explained to News5 earlier this year that the city’s current zoning limits the construction of accessory dwelling units to certain neighborhoods like Hill Side, Mill Street, and the Old North End.

“They’re currently allowed in withing two-family and multi-family zoned districts,” Schultz explained. “We’re proposing to allow those in most single-family home districts.”


City of Colorado Springs page on Accessory Dwelling Units proposal

Ordinance Draft Option A (PDF – May 2019)  / Ordinance Draft Option B (PDF- May 2019)

Homeowners thinking of adding an accessory dwelling unit would still need to meet existing building codes. The additions must be smaller than 750 square feet and less than 25 or 28 feet tall depending on the pitch of the roof and whether the unit is located adjacent to an alley.

Minimum lot sizes would be either 6,000 or 7,000 square feet, depending on the zone district.

In addition to creating more affordable housing units, accessory dwelling also provide homeowners with the option of helping elderly relatives to age in place.

“We hope that people be using these for family members, primarily, but understanding that people may end up selling their houses or they may end up moving on,” Schultz explained.

The policy would not apply to tiny homes because a majority of them are built on trailers. Homeowners Associations could opt out.  However, they may need to vote to amend their covenants.

(News5’s Andy Koen contributed to this report)