In an effort to increase the current housing stock and prevent locals from being pushed out to the suburbs, the City of Austin has passed a number of initiatives to ease the process of adding a granny flat to your lot. A granny flat, often referred to as an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) or secondary apartment, is a secondary residence located on a traditional single family lot.
Originally, the ordinance allowed for the development of granny flats on lots of at least 7,000 square feet. However, recent amendments seek to increase the feasibility of granny flat development by reducing the lot square footage requirements to 5,750 square feet for certain neighborhoods. In effect, the city allowed each neighborhood association to vote on this measure- determining if granny flats would be allowed on lots smaller than 7,000 square feet.
If you are considering building a second unit on your lot, and you have a smaller lot, you must go to the City of Austin's Development Services Department. A city employee can pull the zoning overlay for your particular neighborhood in order to determine if building a granny flat on your lot is feasible. Regardless, you will have to comply with a number of other regulations in regards to accessory dwelling units in addition to complying with traditional zoning requirements. The full code is located here, below are some highlights:
Granny flats represent a great opportunity for Austin to expand the affordable housing stock available, increase density while limiting urban sprawl, and allow residents to make a profit on their existing investments.
On June 13th, 2015, the city council voted to re-evaluate the current code for ADUs; specifically, residents hope they will limit the cumbersome parking and driveway requirements in addition to reducing impervious coverage requirements. Building a granny flat is a great way to add value to your current home. If you're worried about the hassle of red tape involved, feel free to give me a call. I'm happy to walk you through the process.
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