Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)


Thought it was worth sharing … below is a post put together by the folks at Raleigh 4 All on ADU’s and their importance to the fabric of an inclusive, sustainable and thriving city. Raleigh is breaking my heart y’all. And the dude up top from 5 points that says “no rentals wanted here”. WOOF. See as a homeowner I vastly prefer renters to folks like you that have an elitist and toxic attitude toward people that come from a different socio-economic background. Humbling to hear people standing up to say that openly. Here is the post, if of interest:


I’m new in learning about ADU’s and such things. But this seems like a no-brainer way to get more affordable housing into the city. I don;t understand the vehement opposition to it. What’s the difference between someone owning a house and renting it out (which happens plenty in our city). Or owning a house with a small cottage that you rent out. Does that somehow attract more riff-raff?

If a homeowner does not want to renters, then don’t build an ADU.


Regarding the affordability of ADUs, I recently saw an ad for a 1br “backyard cottage” in Mordecai. It rents for $1200 and is 600 sq ft. That doesn’t sound affordable to me, but maybe it’s a “luxury” backyard cottage.

The argument against renters should really be an argument against shitty landlords. If a landlord cares about his/her property and the neighborhood it’s in, they will vet their tenants well. If they don’t, they won’t and the neighborhood will suffer. I don’t know why a landlord wouldn’t try their best to get good tenants, though. Seems like less headache for them. I’ve also heard that it’s difficult for landlords to evict problem tenants, but I don’t know details.

Maybe if some of these issues were addressed as if people wanted to solve the real problems, there wouldn’t such a tantrum over ADUs.


With regards to the ADU argument as a tool for offering affordable housing, it’s a relative term. If the ADU goes for $1200 then you know the main house, if it can be rented, is going for double or even more than that.

Even supporters agree that ADUs aren’t the solution to affordable housing. It’s just a “low hanging fruit” option that should be an easy pass yet here we are after 5-6 years of debate.


I like this list showing the steps someone would have to do to build an ADU. This is basically a ban on them IMO.

Steps for a property owner to get an ADU overlay approved under Raleigh’s new regulations:

  1. Preapplication meeting with staff
  2. Neighborhood meeting between property owner and neighbors explaining proposed overlay district
  3. Property owner mails ballots to neighbors seeking their support for the overlay district
  4. Staff presents results to city
  5. The city or the property owner begins the rezoning process to create a new overlay district
  6. Application is then submitted and reviewed
  7. City staff has 45 days to review the application
  8. Application is submitted to planning commission for review
  9. City holds public hearing for zoning change/new overlay district
  10. City decides whether to adopt or reject ordinance
  11. Once this is done, property owner can apply for permits to build an accessory dwelling unit


The rezoning request that fits in there somewhere is $600 as well if I heard that right on the video.


What a complete cluster.

Seems like it’s easier to rezone a property next to single-family neighborhoods for a 20-story building than it is for someone to build a damn granny flat in their own backyard.


I live in Cary (work dtraleigh) so in some ways I don’t have much of say in this matter, but with that being said I am basically against the ADU’s in most single family home neighborhoods. The thought that I could have have up to 5 or 6 granny flats surrounding my house is not one I find pleasing to say the least. Cutting down trees, increasing water runoff and water erosion, greatly increasing the amount of parked cars on the neighborhood roads, less privacy, more renters, etc… I think most of you who are for these ADU’s probably don’t live in single family homes and probably shouldn’t call people elitist and toxic among other things. We all have things that are important to us and often they differ from what some others may think is important. That is why we have these discussions and to make sure that all points of views are respected and represented.


The cutting down trees, water runoff, water erosion, less privacy are not ADU issues. People could impact these items just as much with attached additions. As far as I know ADU would still have to meet existing impervious area requirements?


I’ll respond to this like I’ve been doing on Twitter for awhile now with a question. Why is Raleigh (give me Cary’s case too, fine) so special that we think we will explode with ADUs versus every other city in the country? What is so unique about us?

To be against ADUs entirely is uncompromising. When we look at all other cities in the country, even the friendliest regulations for ADUs are producing a handful of units per year.

Let’s take Durham, rules that supporters have generally said we should just copy. Durham produces about 15 ADUs per year. Assuming a constant rate, there’s no chance anyone will notice that. The chances of clustering them near anyone is so low that it would only bother such a minor portion of the population. Council should realize this and legislate for the whole city and not the extreme minority.

Again why is Raleigh special that we’d get 100 ADUs build per year? 200?

For the councilors to be against this caters to a very small portion of people who have this fear rather than looking at actual data, acknowledging that grandfathered units already exist and cause no impacts, and that sensible regulation similar to peer cities will not bring about ANY of the perceived negative impacts that those 100% against have.

It’s just not happening. But tell me. Why would it happen in Raleigh?


I would guess that those against ADU’s are primarily those who own houses, with the assumption that ADU’s would have a tendency to lower property values, either by having one built next door (murphy’s law) or having a neighborhood start to become a “rental neighborhood.” As a homeowner I feel these are valid concerns.


I live in and own a single family home in a fairly dense (as far as single family goes) historic downtown Raleigh neighborhood. There are plenty of grandfathered ADUs that are models of what ADUs should be. There aren’t 5 or 6 ADUs on any one property, there’s just not enough room. Usually, they are small cottages or apartments above detached garages. The proposed process seems like a huge burden for this type of neighborhood that’s already fairly dense.

It’s probably unlikely that many people would even be interested in ADUs in a spread out suburban, single-family neighborhood with huge lots and restrictive HOAs. Maybe people with ageing parents who want them to be close. The above process might be appropriate there. I think it’s overkill for more urban neighborhoods, especially when there are existing examples already in place.

Also, renters are not such terrible people. Geez. Our neighbors are renters. One is a doctor and the other a nurse. Scary…


I also want to raise my hand as being a single family, mortgage carrying, home owner in a single family neighborhood. Most of the “let’s allow ADU people” are from what I have seen. That is who actually wants to build an ADU’s.


When demand for housing goes up, land values go up and housing prices increase. Duh. And under these conditions, existing homeowners will want to capitalize on this. Also duh. Homeowners can renovate and sell to get some portion of this but under current regulations, this reaches a practical limit, at which point the typical thing to do is to sell to a developer who does a teardown and builds a larger, more expensive home in its place. None of this is news to anybody, this has been going on all over the place including many neighborhoods in Raleigh for decades now.

Where ADUs come in is that it gives owners another means to capitalize on increased demand in an area without necessarily going the teardown route. I, for one, think this actually does MORE to preserve neighborhood character in contrast with the status quo of teardowns, where nearly every older house is eventually, inevitably, a candidate. And to top it off, the two units that result are also both denser AND more affordable.

There is a certain amount of hypocrisy when owners simultaneously want to benefit from increased demand and property values when they themselves are ready to move on, and yet fight things like ADUs and teardowns on the grounds of neighborhood character. Can’t have it both ways!


If folks are going to stereotype then put me in the SFH-owning group that wants to build an ADU.


I’m a SFH owner and pretty much against the idea of proliferating ADUs but I don’t really have any good reasons for the city banning them. These regulations are overly onerous and time consuming. They’ll drain the times of the people wishing to install an ADU, the neighbors in the overlay district and the city. It’s another case of a protectionist city council seeking to keep things status quo over considering an issue and coming up with an actual solution. It would be one thing if there were no ADUs already in the city but to have some allowed just because they happen to already be there seems to be silly to me. Put up actual common sense regulations around their installation; in areas where street parking might be adversely impacted institute permitted parking. If anything the ADUs will increase the value of a property which should mean some added value to the city’s coffers.


I wonder if that can really cause change. Boomers’ money isn’t going to disappear, their homes and 401Ks will just be inherited and we’ll have a new wealthy, same as the old wealthy, but younger. I know lots of poor millennials that barely save anything because they will be inheriting a house and a retirement account well before they ever need to retire (and they’ll receive every penny since, as of 2018 you can leave an estate of over $22 million without incurring any estate tax), and those people have zero interest in the value of that house diminishing.


Respectfully, elitist and toxic are the nice end of the spectrum when looking at systematically excluding those outside your own income and demographic from upward mobility and access to opportunity. FWIW I am also a home owner. This article explains how progressive city’s like Minneapolis are dealing with adding density (BYE Single Family Zoning!).

Love this quote that speaks directly to your assessment that ADU’s (or density) somehow creates a net loss on very important issues like land use impacts (water runoff, etc). “There’s this obsession with the color green,” observed Nick Magrino, who sits on the city’s planning commission. “People say, ‘My lawn is going to go, and that has green in it!’ You’re either going to get three units there, or three units distributed on torn-up wetland. It seems like at best a misunderstanding of how ecological systems work, and at worse a bad-faith plan.”

Minneapolis is basically my city spirit animal right now and if I didn’t mind being an icicle for 9 / 12 months I’d probs bounce and set up shop here :wink: JK I love Raleigh - and I love the idea of making Raleigh an equitable place for all. ADU’s are a (very) small step toward realizing that reality. Article, if of interest:


I can only speak for myself and my neighborhood really, but I would not want one of those next to my house. That is the bottom line for me. I think allowing them in a more urban type neighborhoods or closer to downtown might be okay. If Cary was to allow ADU’s in my neighborhood I would not protest it or go to any council meeting or anything like that. I would accept it if it passed. Just would not like it if one was built next to my back yard. I guess most people would call me a NIMBY.


The youngest Millennials are 23 years old (oldest about to be 40 next year) and with an average student load debt of under $30k. I think we will just barely be fine.

GenZ and following generations will have student load debt of over $35k and up and incomes 30% lower than the baby boomers at every stage of their life. It’s not going to be pretty and suspect the 21st century will be marked with large social upheavals.