Longmont: Council to Consider Changes to ADU Regulations

The City Council directed staff to work on revisions to the Land Use Code related to accessory dwelling units (ADUs). ADUs, are allowed as an accessory use to an existing single family home if the owner can meet certain development standards.  One of the most difficult standards to meet relates to density. Often a proposed ADU violates the density limits (the number of dwelling units) allowed in a particular zone.

When the City first proposed regulations related to ADUs, some homeowner groups raised concerns with the concept, fearing negative impacts on their neighborhoods. Ultimately, the regulations approved addressed absentee landlords, parking, short-term rentals, a prohibition on the sale of ADUs apart from the principal residence and the density restrictions mentioned above.

A recent request by a homeowner prompted the discussion. The owner asked for an amendment to build an ADU on her property, saying the density limits were unnecessary. At the regular May 9 meeting, the City Council decided a variance should be an option for owners in cases in which the density is already at or above the maximum cap. However, the Council told staff to work on changes to the ADU regulations in conjunction with other Land use code updates currently underway. Planner Don Burchett said the updates won’t be ready for Council review until the 4th quarter of 2017. Easing the restrictions on ADUs would be a good way to add more affordable rental units to Longmont’s inventory – if homeowners can be persuaded that more ADUs won’t create problems in their neighborhoods.

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