Mayor Marc Nelson, Council Chairwoman Natasha Brown, and Council Vice Chair Nathan Shook issued statements today that they will not support amendments to the city’s zoning code which would have permitted the construction of detached accessory dwelling units (ADUs). The city successfully completed an update to its comprehensive plan and has engaged the assistance of consultants czb, Inc. and Ingalls Planning & Design to assist in a long-overdue overhaul of its zoning regulations. Proposed changes which would have permitted ADUs were included in the first draft of the document and received significant comments during the public engagement period. The comprehensive plan and zoning code draft documents can be found here.
Mayor Nelson said, “I previously directed an extension of the public comment period through February 23rd, and the Common Council simultaneously scheduled a public hearing on the proposals which was held on February 21st. The public comments I reviewed made compelling arguments against permitting external ADUs. Chief among them, in my view, was the stated risk to the character of our neighborhoods. I was also not convinced by arguments on the other side of the issue. Clearly ADUs do not present a panacea to our housing shortage, nor would their rents have been any more affordable than any others, and thus they would not have offered any respite from rising rents. As the next draft is released, I hope that the strong dialogue and public engagement continues, and I am confident that the final product will reflect the benefits of that collaboration.”
Council Chairwoman Brown said, “I have determined, after hearing significant feedback from city residents, that external ADUs are not the best path forward for the city, I do think that expanding property owner’s right to construct legal apartments within their homes, such as is sometimes described as a ‘mother-daughter’ unit, or perhaps to make it possible for a senior citizen to age-in-place, would be a meaningful update to our existing zoning code, and so I join Mayor Nelson and Vice Chair Shook insofar as our decision today eliminates only the external ADU proposal. As I have said from the start of this process, the Council will hold multiple public hearings on this important rezoning work, and I want to thank the many people who have participated in this process -- this is what good government looks like.”
Council Vice Chair Nathan Shook of the fourth ward said, “I want to thank all the members of the public who attended the recent public hearing and have reached out to me via phone or email to express their concerns and ideas regarding the draft zoning code. We have heard you and in collaboration with Chairwoman Brown and Mayor Nelson, we will be asking the consultant to remove the references to proposed detached accessory dwelling units in the draft code. I look forward to continuing the conversation with my constituents, Council colleagues and the administration to pass a much needed zoning code update that works for all citizens of the city.”