Accessory Dwelling Unit Code Changes

06 September, 2022

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are an important part of Salt Lake City’s housing future. While they are not a silver bullet that can fully meet the SLC’s housing needs, they are a critical part of establishing neighborhood scale infill housing. As a simple and affordable option for many people, these units can provide much needed workforce housing, housing for students, and for aging parents. 

ADUs are also a way to build wealth and opportunity in SLC's neighborhoods by providing every homeowner with the opportunity to participate in incremental development of their neighborhoods.

SLC is considering policy changes that would: 

  • Allow ADUs on properties with a nonresidential use or multi-family use. Currently, ADUs are only permitted on properties with a single-family dwelling.
  • Eliminate the conditional use requirement for detached ADUs in single-family residential zoning districts. As a permitted use, detached ADUs will still be required to meet all size and location requirements in the ordinance.
  • Add alley activation requirements for detached ADUs constructed within a certain distance from a public alley.
  • Remove the requirement that an ADU cannot be taller than the primary home or building. Instead, ADUs would follow similar height requirements as other accessory buildings like garages.  
  • Modify setbacks so an ADU over a garage can be 5 feet from a property line instead of 10.  
  • Remove vague or conflicting requirements for different types of detached ADUs so the code is easier to use.
  • Remove a requirement that said a detached ADU cannot be larger than 50% of the footprint of the home. Instead, the size of the ADU will be capped at 720 square feet.  Homes on larger lots may be able to have larger ADUs.
  • Change regulations that conflict with Utah state code related to ADUs that are attached or within an existing home.
  • Prohibit short-term rentals on properties with an ADU.
  • ADUs on properties with single-family dwellings currently require the owner to live on the property. This could mean an ADU renter might be forced to move if the owner of the property is no longer living on site. This proposal may include removing the owner occupancy requirement.

The changes proposed by SLC will make ADUs easier to build. We support this policy as a necessary first step toward incremental density and increased housing in every neighborhood in SLC. Click here to learn more about the proposal

Additional benefits of ADUs, according to the California Department of Housing and Community Development

  • ADUs are an affordable type of home to construct because they do not require paying for land, major new infrastructure, structured parking, or elevators.
  • ADUs are an affordable type of home to construct in California because they do not require paying for land, major new infrastructure, structured parking, or elevators.
  • ADUs can provide a source of income for homeowners.
  • ADUs are built with cost-effective wood frame construction, which is significantly less costly than homes in new multifamily infill buildings.
  • ADUs allow extended families to be near one another while maintaining privacy.
  • ADUs can provide as much living space as many newly-built apartments and condominiums, and they’re suited well for couples, small families, friends, young people, and seniors.
  • ADUs give homeowners the flexibility to share independent living areas with family members and others, allowing seniors to age in place as they require more care.

How to take action: 

1. Contact your city councilpersonComments can be shared at any time online, by emailing [email protected], or by phone at 801-535-7654. You can also use this helpful template to reach out directly by email. 

2. Sign the petition: Signing the petition means your name will be included on the letter from SLC Neighbors for More Neighbors to the city council.  

Slider image photo credit: