Proposed Changes to Accessory Dwelling Units

by John Wolforth, Planning and Zoning Director
comments open from April 2 until April 21

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is an additional dwelling that can either be added to an existing single family detached dwelling, or built as a separate accessory structure on the same lot as the primary dwelling. These types of structures are often called “granny cottages.” To be considered an ADU, the unit has provisions for an independent kitchen, and must be clearly subordinate to the main dwelling.

Currently, to qualify for an ADU, a property owner must prove at a Board of Adjustment hearing that the ADU will only be occupied by a family member, the property is a minimum of one acre, and adequate water and sanitation is provided. Currently, Planning and Zoning is processing updates to the Zoning Resolution in order to allow for a broader range of Accessory Dwelling Unit users. With a demographic shift in society, we need to look ahead in order to accommodate those who might have aging parents, other family members, caretakers or renters wanting or needing to live on the same property.

The three major changes proposed are as follows:

Process: The process is proposed to be changed from a Board of Adjustment hearing to an administrative process where the decision is rendered based on specific criteria.

Occupant: The requirement that the ADU be occupied by a family member is proposed to be removed and replaced by a requirement that one of the units must be occupied by the property owner. The other unit could be occupied by a family member, a caretaker, a nanny or a renter.

Lot and Unit size: The minimum lot size has been reduced, but the maximum unit size is also reduced on a tiered scale; so as lot size is reduced, so is the size of the ADU.

Valid proof of water and sanitation will still be required.

The intent of these regulation changes is not to double the density allowed in an area, or to allow the ADU to be sold off as an independent unit. The intent is to create more housing options for Jefferson County citizens. This would allow some citizens to age in place by having a second unit for perhaps a caretaker or grown children.

Draft regulations will be placed on the Planning and Zoning website in the near future. The draft regulations will be presented to the Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners for consideration in late August 2014.

Planning and Zoning Staff will kick off the regulation amendment process with the upcoming public meetings:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Lookout Mountain Room
Jefferson County Administration and Courts Facility
100 Jefferson Parkway
Golden, CO

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Evergreen Fire Protection District
1802 Bergen Parkway
Evergreen, CO


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