Strong Towns Critiques Raleigh's ADU Overlay Rules

A key reason that ADUs aren’t spreading like wildfire, even when affordable-housing concerns are, is that most recent efforts to allow ADUs come with a long list of stipulations whose end result is to make building one into a project that’s prohibitively expensive, complicated, and/or risky for all but a few homeowners.

An ordinance on the table in Raleigh, North Carolina is a great example of this. The Raleigh News-Observer’s Anna Johnson explains:

The recommended rules outline a special district that would allow backyard cottages, but only after a resident applies for it and a majority of 10 acres worth of the applicant’s neighbors agree to the district. The recommendation also outlines how close the backyard cottage can be to other properties and how big it can be. It also regulates lighting and parking.

The rules wouldn’t allow the cottages to be used for short-term rentals like AirBNB and would limit the occupancy to two adults.

Unfortunately, Raleigh is the norm rather than the exception when it comes to ADU rules. Most cities that have nominally allowed ADUs have saddled them with so many restrictions that nearly everyone who might actually put one on their lot is deterred from doing so.
— Daniel Herriges - Strong Towns
Brent Woodcox