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What is an Auxiliary Dwelling Unit?

Updated: Nov 30, 2022

American families have changed and, slowly but surely, local zoning ordinances are being revised to reflect the way families live in the 21st century. Our lifestyles today often include the need to move elderly parents closer to us for the care and support they need. We also see our adult children needing a cost-effective way to find shelter and may even need to move back to the family homestead due to inflation in the housing market. Family members with special needs may also need to be close while still maintaining their independence and privacy.


The Auxiliary Dwelling Unit or ADU is often the solution for today’s families. These structures are small stand-alone homes built on the same property as the family home. Where approved, the zoning ordinances often limit the size. We have seen these limits as low as 500sf to as much as 1500sf. Conventional zoning would consider a second living area on a single lot as “multi-family” which is the same zoning for apartments and townhomes. The new ADU zoning creates a new category between traditional apartment zoning and single-family zoning. In some jurisdictions the ADU must be attached to the main home but can have its own separate entrance.


The designs for these little homes can include wheel-chair accessibility or other special needs. Exterior architecture can range from traditional, to Florida vernacular architecture, to modern. Our design team has lots of great plans and ideas as well as the ability to match the architecture of the main home when that is preferred. ADUs can also be modular allowing for a very fast installation process that does not disrupt you or your neighbors with noisy construction in the back yard.


If your family is now busting at the seams, let’s talk about whether an ADU is a good choice for you. We have lenders who specialize in the kind of loan you might need, and the Morgan-Davonn team is well prepared to navigate the zoning ordinances in your community to see if this new kind of home is right for your family.



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