Des Moines to consider 2-in-1 housing expansion
A significant number of single-family homeowners in Des Moines could construct additional homes or turn outbuildings like garages into guest houses under a zoning change that goes before the City Council Monday.
Why it matters: If approved, residential density would increase.
- Affordable housing options would expand, and it could help those caring for seniors in multi-generational family settings, AARP Iowa state director Brad Anderson tells Axios.
Catch up fast: Accessory household units (AHUs) include alley flats and other dwellings that are attached or adjacent to a home.
- City zoning limits AHUs to specific districts, which are generally located in higher density areas where multi-housing is allowed.
Details: Under the proposed change, AHUs would be allowed by-right in more districts, as well as at DSM homes within a quarter-mile of a transit route.
- Site plans and permits would still be required but a rezoning and public hearing process wouldn't be necessary to build AHUs in the expanded areas, Jason Van Essen, a city planner, told the zoning commission last month.
- A Zillow survey in 26 U.S. metro areas, published this week, found broad support of accessory dwelling units.
- New York considered an accessory dwelling unit plan this year, but scrapped it in February after concerns surfaced about the impact on local zoning.
Zoom in: The least-expensive AHUs in Des Moines tend to be garage conversions, which generally cost at least $50,000, according to a new city site.
- At least one off-street parking space must be provided for each AHU. Homeowners must live in the property if an AHU is rented.
What's next: Monday's City Council meeting begins at 5pm.
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