Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)


Durham is not the same as Raleigh. It’s way less crowded, has lower land costs, adds fewer people yearly, and is more spread out than Raleigh vis-a-vis its population, despite the false narrative that it’s more urban.


The next episode in the ADU saga continues tonight during city council. Here is the latest proposed ordinance.

This is a text change that would create a new zoning overlay district for accessory dwelling units. The overlay district could be applied to areas ten acres in size and larger. Both attached and detached accessory dwelling units would be permitted. The development regulations for accessory dwelling units are based on the recently-adopted regulations for accessory structures. The Planning Commission reviewed the text change and recommended denial by a vote of 6 to 1. Members of the Planning Commission submitted additional considerations for the City Council.

I’m very much against the overlay and think that the compromise lies within the setbacks, height, etc reqs of the ADU itself.


I’m curious what the difference between this “backyard cottage” are compared to ADUs


So, the planning commission said the overlay was not a good solution and suggested a compromise of having any new ADU come before the planning commission and the appearance committee. But, the group running the city council currently did not like that and want to just go with the overlay. Is that the jist of what is happening?


Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is the technical term for what most backyard cottages would fall under. There are some details about an “Accessory Structure” being a place where you can store stuff or maybe have an office. But, if you have some type of full kitchen then it becomes and ADU. The link you shared is for an ADU. They were legal to build in Raleigh until the 70s, so there are more than you would expect sprinkled throughout Raleigh. This one was built in the 50s I believe.


Guessing it was grandfathered in maybe ?


On a related note…


The US doesn’t build enough housing units overall, what gets built is just enough to satisfy wealthier citizens so there’s no need to make them affordable. 330 million Americans will be 450 million in about 50 to 70 years from now. Go to any major city in Europe and look at the outer neighborhoods. From Paris to London to Lisbon to Berlin to Moscow to Athens. It’s a sea of ugly concrete ‘communist blocks buildings’. Putting this huge stock of housing keeps housing reasonable.

Bratislava has the same population as Raleigh. Below is the reason housing is still affordable in Bratislava.

Heck, let’s look at wealthy expensive Vienna next door. Housing is still very reasonable because they’re building an endless sea of 10 to 30 story apartments.

Raleigh getting another Skyhouse isn’t going to sink prices. It will need 50 new Skyhouses with less luxuries and just outside of downtown just to keep pricing inline with inflation.


Exactly. I’m sure it’s a hard pill to swallow but we would need large swaths to be upzoned, not just downtown or a few blocks here and there. It’s like, the whole city should go “up” one more zoning density level and heights should go up one more level in mixed-use areas. I think the wider the upzoning, the less it has to be but if we’re going to keep preserving neighborhoods and areas then there has to be SOMEWHERE that needs to take the pressure off. That’s when you get expensive stuff, at least in the beginning I think.


So you’re saying only wealthy people should enjoy Raleigh? Because once supplies go tight only the highest bidders will buy in DTR and Raleigh proper. My grandmother’s Los Angeles house currently valued at $1.2 million even though she bought at $30,000. And it’s the ghetto. She had to split the housing into 4 units to afford to live close to DTLA.

Bratislava doesn’t even have a metro. And any modern apartment will be made of glass. Concrete blocks are no longer the cheapest building style.

Below is the modern version of apartment blocks.



I could envision high rise dense apartments on some outskirts of Raleigh such as along Capital Blvd north and South Saunders south. Also maybe along the Avent Ferry Road area where a lot of low rise apartments are currently aging.


Where did I say that?


“Raise your hand if you are willing to plow over DT adjacent single family home neighborhoods to build nondescript blocks of “communist” era housing to significantly up the supply?”

Supply and demand. It’s that simple. Wealthy people are the only people that benefit in a housing crisis.


Nobody is saying that. But if my central Raleigh neighborhood is currently zoned R-10, I’m willing to accept RX-3 density if a lot or combined lots can handle it. In fact I would’ve preferred a 3-4 story townhome development with maybe a ground floor corner store instead of 5 SFH on a 0.7 acre site.


Well, you really drew a lot of presumptions from my provocative question. I put that question out there to put this all in perspective. There is absolutely zero chance that the “soviet era” block style housing will ever come to DT Raleigh or adjacent. In fact, the American equivalents to that style in NYC have been, and continue to be razed and replaced. It’s simply not going to happen.
We are also highly bound by development decisions made over the last 100 years. Having a city subdivided into tiny parcels of individually owned land highly limits what we can do, and decisions on what do do with each individual parcel will be made in the best interest of the owners of those properties. As a result, any effort to assemble the land into larger parcels will be expensive, resulting in escalating prices for what goes there next.
As for what’s really going on now, the reality is that we are plowing over affordable housing in mostly east and southeast Raleigh, and we are replacing it with expensive homes and townhomes.
Regarding the affordable housing downtown, the city itself made insane development decisions by wasting land and putting suburban style, auto oriented developments with few units on large parcels of urban land that could have accommodated many more units without ever coming close to looking like that photo in Brataslava.
Over my adult life, I have watched the political center of this country move further to the right of the actual center, and the gap only seems to be widening. I don’t see any path forward in that current environment for anything to drastically change the direction.


Only a Sith deals in absolutes.

Also I think perspectives will change between the wealthiest American generation ever (baby boomers) and the following generation of poorer and poorer and poorer Americans.


I’m taking myself out of this conversation altogether. It’s not worth it.


Looks like we need population control. Whoops, did I say that?:face_with_raised_eyebrow:


So, basically the result of the proposed text change would be something like this:


Here is a video of the part of the council meeting on this from today from the Raleighite.