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Clark County Makes Accessory Dwelling Units Easier To Develop

Accessory dwelling units

The Clark County Council approved, by a vote of 4-1, a number of code changes to encourage, or at least make easier, the development of accessory dwelling units.

Generally, ADUs are small additions to existing houses that can form separate living space, such as a converted basement or a new backyard building.

The code changes also make development of cottage-style houses, or small houses on share lots, easier to do. The changes might help ease the area's housing and affordability crunch by making smaller and less-expensive units available.

County code already allows for ADUs and cottage housing. The point of the revisions is to make them more attractive options, reports The Columbian.

For example, the changes lower the minimum floor area for cottages to 150 SF from 500 SF. The maximum floor area was increased from 1,200 SF to 1,600 SF.

The vote also removed a requirement that an owner of an ADU live in the main dwelling while renting the unit out. That means that the ADU and the main dwelling could both be rented out at the same time.

That change drew the single no vote, which was by Councilor Jeanne Stewart, whose district includes a large portion of Vancouver, Washington. She wanted the owner-occupation requirement for ADUs to stay.

Last year, the city of Vancouver likewise eliminated its requirement that owners live on-site with ADUs. The thinking is that an owner-occupation requirement discourages the development of ADUs.