Public Input Sought on Proposed Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance

Public Input Sought on Proposed Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance
Posted on 10/31/2017

Typically known as basement apartments, accessory dwelling units are common in many Cottonwood Heights neighborhoods. By definition, an accessory dwelling unit is a residential dwelling unit meant for one additional single family located on the same lot as a single-family home, either within the same building as the single-family home or in a detached building on the property.

It’s likely you know homeowners in your neighborhood who rent out their basement. Maybe you operate one yourself. Many of the accessory dwelling units in Cottonwood Heights have existed since before the city incorporated. So why is a draft ordinance being considered?

Technically, every accessory dwelling unit in the city is illegal. There is no city code that allows for the creation and/or operation of such rental units, and yet they exist. Why is this? One contributing factor is many people aren’t aware that accessory dwelling units aren’t allowed. Another factor is they are difficult to find and enforce.

The City Council feels that if accessory dwelling units exist in the city, then perhaps some regulations should be put in place to make them as safe as possible. Ensuring that families renting accessory dwelling units are safe and that the neighborhood is not negatively impacted are top priorities. An ideal ordinance ensures that parking issues are adequately addressed, and that the legal owner of a property lives full-time at any home containing the accessory dwelling unit.

This is why the Planning Commission and City Council are requesting the help of the citizens. A preliminary draft ordinance has been written, and the city is now seeking input from as many residents as possible. 

The City Council and Planning Commission will hold an informal town hall meeting to discuss the proposal with citizens on Nov. 8 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

If you would like more information on the proposed ordinance, scheduled hearing dates, or would like to provide general feedback, please contact the city’s planning department at 801-944-7060.