Why is the City working to change current zoning laws to allow for Accessory Dwellings (aka “granny flats)?

The need to offer a variety of housing options has long been a topic of discussion in city planning. By all measures, Carmel has been experiencing rapid housing growth for the last 50 years; most of which has been developed in the form of single- family detached houses.

Removing zoning barriers to the construction of “accessory dwelling units” is a logical next step.

But over the last 20 years, Carmel has also been a successful market for other housing types with the addition of townhomes, condominiums and apartments into the mix. With continued housing demand, rising housing costs and a shrinking supply of land to develop, our professional planners believe it is time to adjust our housing strategy to continue to meet the needs and preferences of residents.

Removing zoning barriers to the construction of “accessory dwelling units” is a logical next step. Also known as “granny flats,” “carriage houses” or “in-law suites,” accessory dwellings are independent living units which are either attached to, within, or located on the same lot as a single- family home. They are flexible in size and configuration and are more affordable for young couples who want a small footprint or for seniors looking to downsize and remain in their neighborhoods.

They can also provide a source of financial stability for homeowners to stay in their houses or rent out the main house – making aging in place possible. In short, accessory dwellings can be a solution to high housing costs, limited developable land, and demand for multigenerational living. With carefully crafted standards, they can be built discreetly into the character of new and existing neighborhoods while making efficient use of existing street and utility infrastructure that is so costly for new developments.

Authored by Laura Campbell, Sue Finkam, Kevin Rider, Jeff Worrell, Bruce Kimball, Miles Nelson, Anthony Green and Adam Aasen.