Nov 30, 2021

ADU Policy Update

Over the course of the last year, multiple municipalities in the Twin Cities have re-examined their Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) policies, signifying strong interest in encouraging ADU development.

  • The City of Minneapolis altered height ADU restrictions, now allowing detached ADUs – such as above-garage ADUs – to be taller than the primary home. This is particularly beneficial for owners of 1 and 1.5 story homes, who are now able to build 2 story ADUs. The maximum height for an ADU was also changed from 20 feet to 21 feet, which will allow for a more comfortable living space.
  • The City of St. Louis Park passed an ordinance allowing ADU development on single-family lots. An owner-occupant must live on the lot at the time the ADU is constructed, and occupancy of the lot is limited to one family and two additional renters/boarders. Unlike most ADU policies in the region, St. Louis Park does not require the ADU or primary home to be owner-occupied indefinitely.
  • The City of Saint Paul is considering removing owner-occupancy requirements from its ADU policy. In addition to allowing investor owners to build ADUs, this change would allow owners who plan to live in the ADU to lease the primary home and live offsite during the ADU’s construction. The City of Saint Paul is also considering allowing larger ADUs, increasing the total footprint from 1,000 square feet to 1,200 square feet.

We are eager to see how these changes and considerations might influence ADU development in the coming year. As the upfront cost of building an ADU remains a significant barrier to ADU uptake across the region, it is important to consider how local policies might influence ADU financing decisions.

ADUs are a small but important way to improve our housing supply and create flexible housing options that meet the needs of our communities. Check out our ADU Guidebook for Homeowners.

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