Madison Plan Commission cuts red tape for “granny flats”

Additional housing units or ADUs are small housing units that are built on the same plot of land as an existing house. The small apartments are also called “granny apartments” or “backyard huts” and are only allowed on properties with a single-family house.

Now the leaders of the City of Madison are trying to cut red tape and change zoning requirements to make additional housing units easier for Madison residents to build.

The proposal, which was unanimously approved by the Planning Commission last night, continues to require homeowners to apply for a permit from the city. But it would restructure the way homeowners apply to build these apartments.

These residential units are currently subject to so-called conditional use. That includes a request to the city’s planning committee – a lengthy and unpredictable process, say some alders.

Under the proposed legislation, accessible housing units would be subject to what is known as permitted use – a simpler and more predictable process.

Alder Patrick Heck represents Madison’s Near East Side and is one of the sponsors of the legislation. He says it is important to change that process, there go Going to the city planning commission can be intimidating.

“I think the fact that it’s a conditional rather than a permitted use is an obstacle. This trip to the planning committee isn’t necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, but it does open up the process so that the neighbors can, frankly, step in. And often people who want to build an ADU or Alder become hesitant because neighbors have often complained about the prospect of having an ADU in or near an adjoining property because they feel it will somehow affect their quality of life will, ”said Heck

Alders Lindsay Lemmer, Tag Evers and Grant Foster are also sponsors of the legislation. So does Madison’s Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, who announced a series of new initiatives earlier this year to increase the need to increase housing choices and create affordable housing in the city.

The plan could be a way to address the growing housing problems in Madison and create more housing without having to build new residential buildings. Alder Heck says the proposal is about options.

“I think opening the process up and making it easier to build an additional housing unit will provide more opportunities for more living space,” said Heck.

Heck, who is himself a member of the twelve-person planning commission, is also trying to make additional residential units more viable for every single-family home in the city

During budget negotiations earlier this month, the Joint Council approved a budget change that would establish a new loan program for homeowners looking to build additional housing units. The $ 400,000 program is designed to provide direct loans to homeowners – especially those who do not have access to full funding through traditional means.

Alder Heck – along with thirteen other alders – voted to fund the program.

“We also hope to expand capacity across the city by having this pilot program that we have funded for next year as well. because you have a lower or moderate income. We also hope that a city website will come out with ADU plans and other stuff so that people don’t have to go at the expense of an architect, ”said Heck.

According to the proposal, which still has to be approved by the full council, homeowners must continue to live on the property – a single-family house and the associated ADU cannot be rented out at the same time. Regulations regulating Airbnb would also continue to apply, meaning that apartments could not be rented for more than thirty days if the homeowner was not living on the property.

Even under the proposal, AD-Us would be limited to two bedrooms, a total of nine hundred square feet and no taller than fifteen feet, except in certain circumstances.

The plan was unanimously approved by the Madison Plan Commission. It will now go back to the Joint Council for deliberation in two weeks.

Courtesy photo: Karl JK Hedin / UNSPLASH

Did you enjoy this story? Your support makes such great local journalism possible. Donate here

Comments are closed.