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 1960s. Benefits of ADUs include 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 subject of ADUs was introduced to Moscow citizens in the 2012 City of Moscow Citizen Survey which included questions about whether residents would support ADUs in their neighborhood, and if residents would be interested in adding an ADU if they were permitted in Moscow. Early public input was favorable, which led the Planning and Zoning Commission to further explore allowing ADUs in Moscow. To solicit additional public input, open house sessions were held in January and April of 2014. The Commission also developed a randomly distributed survey that was mailed to 342 Moscow citizens in October 2014. Results from this survey are included in the ADU Public Input Summary (PDF), which provides a comprehensive overview of all of the public input regarding ADUs in Moscow.
Based on the data showing citizen interest and support for ADUs, the Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing in early March 2015 to recommend that the City Council adopt an ordinance amendment allowing ADUs within all residential zoning districts. The City Council held a final public hearing in April 2015, at which the ADU ordinance was passed.