The Importance of Granny Flats

How One Colorado City Instantly Created Affordable Housing

Accessory Dwelling Units-- sometimes called granny flats-- are a great way to create additional housing in existing neighborhoods. It is frequently affordable for renters, can provide extra income for a homeowner, and in some cases can provide amenities, such a yard and garden space, that can be harder to come by in apartment complexes. 

Durango, Colorado recently overhauled their zoning code to make having accessory dwelling units easier, despite major pushback.  Unfortunately, Eugene's last attempt to update our code actually made it harder to build accessory dwelling units.

Planners call them Accessory Dwelling Units—plus the inevitable acronym, ADUs. What they mean are the granny flats and in-law apartments sprinkled throughout cities and towns across the land, the finished basements, above-garage studios, rehabbed carriage houses, and other outbuildings on parcels generally zoned for single-family homes.

But here’s what they really are: an instant source of affordable housing, if only they could be freed from extensive restrictions that cities and towns have in place that tightly limit who can live there.
— Anthony Flint, City Lab