If you’ve looked to soften the blow of your property tax bill by renting out your back house or guest house, you may chafe under the rules which Dallas Development Code restricts Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs. But with a dearth of affordable rentals, more residents are keen to offer an option that wasn’t previously available.
That’s why the City Plan Commission will review amendments to chapters 51 and 51A of the Dallas Development Code to allow ADUs and create more workable rules so that homeowners and renters can meet in the middle and close the housing gap. The draft ordinance allowing ADUs will go in front of the commission Thursday, June 22. The meeting starts at 9 a.m.
While more affordable rentals solves a big problem in Dallas, there are some people who say a building boom of backyard “granny flats” as they’re called, would wreak irrevocable harm on many neighborhoods, especially historic districts in high-traffic areas. One example is Vickery Place and the M Streets area around Greenville Avenue. After four public meetings on the ordinance, some changes to the proposal may have solved a few of the issues with the ordinance, with broader notifications for ADU exceptions (from homeowners within 200 feet now to 400 feet) and an off-street parking allocation. Another key change was to allow ADUs to be built at the maximum height allowed in the neighborhood, which would facilitate more units atop existing detached garages, which doesn’t increase lot coverage while creating more available housing. Additionally, to qualify as an ADU, the main home must be owner occupied. So far, city staff is recommending that the plan commission pass the ordinance as is.
Some homeowners in East Dallas have already gotten a jump start, said Ken Lampton when the news of the granny flat ordinance broke. Right now, the ADU ordinance precludes full-scale kitchens, but it doesn’t appear that these homeowners care.
For Kimberly King, a Vickery Place homeowner and attorney, it’s sheerly an economic issue.