City Commission Postpones Revisions to ADU Parameters

City Commission Postpones Revisions to ADU Parameters

On January 17, the Tallahassee City Commissioner considered introducing a new ordinance regarding the definition of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU). The current definition of an ADU in the Tallahassee Land Development Code explains that it is a single dwelling unit “sharing ownership and utility connections with a principal structure on a single property.”

The proposed ordinance would revise the definition of an ADU to allow for an ADU to have a unique address and utility connections from that of the principal residence on the property, improving the feasibility of using it as rental housing and making it a more appealing investment for property owners to pursue.

However, Jake Kiker – a public speaker on the issue – proposed the Commission approve an update to the ADU size limitation. Mr. Kiker noted that this revision would provide consistency and more affordable housing options.

Kiker gave an example to the Commission, explaining that when he and his wife did a ground up construction on two town home units, he had met with city staff to do an ADU on each unit; However, he learned there was a provision in the ADU code that limits square footage to no more than 40% of the primary residence size. He noted that during the original development he had built the homes at 1,400 sq. ft. stating, “We wanted to do something that fit with the urban fabric”. He continued, “Well by doing that, that means the ADUs we’d like to build can be no more than 560 sq. ft.” He then noted that the median square footage for a one-bedroom unit nation-wide in 2023 is 757 sq. ft.

Additionally, Kiker proposed that Tallahassee develop pre-approved ADU plans similar to other states. He stated, “We have the FAMU School of Architecture which I think has some talented folks who could work with local architecture and design firms to put the same type of housing inventory on the books for our ADU process.”

During Board discussion, the city manager suggested testing new recommendations with Tallahassee neighborhoods stating, “All of these conditions have been put about based on relationships with our neighborhoods, so I would evaluate that first.”

Mayor John Dailey proposed further action be postponed until the Commission could have the opinion of the neighborhoods. The Commission unanimously approved to mot introduce the ordinance.

2 Responses to "City Commission Postpones Revisions to ADU Parameters"

  1. Town-houses were once just what they sound like — someone’s house in the town, the city, as differentiated from their country house on the estate remote from the city. (Think London and the minor “lords” with their estates. Part of the deal with having an estate was also the productivity of the serfs who were obliged to pay part of their produce to the laird as rent which the shire reeve or another official would collect, so the laird & family had a steady income and food to maintain their house servants, stable-boys, footmen, butler…)

    But in recent decades, it was typically a 2-story house, often a duplex, like what used to be on the block where that fragile stick atop heavy-steel-reinforced pad monstrosity across from the Renaissance Center… between… Macomb & Copeland/Strong “park”, Virginia & Carolina. 11 or 12 were built there in the 1990s. Interesting; 2 different map widgets still show the old town houses that haven’t been there for years, with the Obummer creating jobs sign for a couple years. But a third shows the “new” monstrosity carefully designed with a parking garage in the Western middle open to the local solar furnace effect. “Brilliant” and cheap, like a WM or Target apartment building.

    Anyway, these carriage houses/ADUs/ granny-apartments are a fairly good idea economically in our current over-crowded circumstances. They are not “sheds”… a couple steps up from that, up from the micro- and mini-house craze, with, as discussed, plumbing & electricity, heating and usually A/C. OK, I once knew a doctor whose pool house was about ADU size, but then his main house was somewhat super-sized, so it would have passed the rule.

  2. “a single dwelling unit is “sharing ownership and utility connections with a principal structure on a single property.”

    Why would Townhomes be listed as an ADU, they are not Accessory Dwelling Units? ADU’s are Sheds, Detached Garages and Pool House type Structures. Leave it as is.

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