ADU Supporters Show Up in Force

From the News & Observer...

Though they made no official decisions, Raleigh leaders got an earful Wednesday on a long divisive issue — backyard cottages.

Supporters of the dwellings vastly outnumbered opponents during a city committee meeting, saying they want to have the cottages without asking their neighbors for permission first.

The secondary, standalone buildings — sometimes called granny flats or accessory dwelling units (ADUs) — are normally used as a place for friends or family to live or are rented out for extra income. They are not permitted under Raleigh’s laws, but they’ve been hotly contested for years. ...

There were still people interested in speaking in favor of the cottages when that side’s 45 minutes ran out. Tom Anhut, chairman of the Triangle Community Coalition and longtime advocate of backyard cottages, tried to address any concerns people may have about the structures.

”The fear I continue to hear about ADUs have not borne out in the other cities,” Anhut said. “They don’t have the problems. Why do we think we are special and different and will have these problems when they don’t?”

He wrapped up by reminding council members the people elected them to make decisions and not to delegate their decisions to individual neighborhoods.

James Demby, also in support of the cottages, said he and his wife both left college with student loans and he searched for an affordable place to live after graduation. Now that he owns a home, he said he’d like to build a backyard cottage to give someone else the chance he was looking for. ...

Mayor Nancy McFarlane, who is not on the committee, sat in the audience and listened.

”I understand people’s concerns, but I’ve talked to the mayors of other cities and people have come in with the same concerns from their citizens, but they haven’t seen an overwhelming number of problems,” she said. “The things people perceived or thought would go wrong, they really haven’t seen.”

The Growth and Natural Resources Committee will meet again at 4 p.m. June 13 to bring the issue back up. Once the committee makes a recommendation, it would still have to be voted on by the full City Council.
— Anna Johnson - N&O
Brent Woodcox