Accessory Dwelling Unit Project
Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are generally small-scale residential units that are accessory to a single-family home. Also known as granny flats, mother-in-law units, laneway houses, or secondary dwelling units, ADUs were more common in the U.S. prior to the 1960's. Many cities are now realizing several benefits of ADU's including efficient use of existing developed land and public infrastructure, creation of affordable housing opportunities, increased income opportunity for home owners, and the opportunity to care for an elderly or disabled family member in an independent living arrangement.
The Moscow Planning and Zoning Commission is currently considering whether to allow accessory dwelling units (ADUs) within Moscow. The Commission has reviewed ordinances that permit ADUs in a variety of cities throughout the northwest to understand what type of standards are being applied to secondary dwelling units that can either be within an existing single-family home (such as a basement apartment) or within a detached accessory structure (such as above a detached garage).
The subject of ADUs was introduced to Moscow citizens with the distribution of the 2012 City of Moscow Citizen Survey. The survey included questions about whether or not residents would support ADUs in their neighborhood, as well as asked residents if they would be interested in adding an ADU if they were permitted in Moscow.
This early public input was favorable for ADUs and therefore led the Planning and Zoning Commission to explore the potential of allowing ADUs in Moscow. To solicit additional public input on the subject, two open house sessions were held, the first on January 22, 2014, and the second on April 2, 2014. At each open house a survey was distributed to collect detailed input on preferences for permitting ADUs in Moscow and the surveys were made available online after the open house sessions. Due to minimal turnout at the open houses and therefore a small number of completed surveys received, the Commission chose to develop a third randomly distributed survey that was direct mailed to 342 Moscow citizens in October 2014. Results from this survey have been compiled, and are included in the ADU Public Input Summary, which provides a comprehensive overview of all of the public input received in regards to ADUs in Moscow.
The Commission is now reviewing and discussing a draft ADU ordinance and will work to finalize an ordinance for public hearing in early March. A final public hearing would then be scheduled for early April before City Council for a final decision on the ADU ordinance.