The Argument Against Accessory Dwelling Units

Facing the potential for accessory dwelling units to win swift legalization in Chicago inspires one columnist to push back.

1 minute read

May 28, 2020, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Accessory Dwelling Unit

Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr

The city of Chicago banned the development of coach houses, the local term used to describe accessory dwelling units, in 1957, and according to Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn, the city failed to ask, or answer, the following question: "Do we really want to ban them?"

Face forward to 2020, and the Chicago City Council is considering an ordinance to legalize ADUs with the support of  Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Now, writes Eric Zorn, the city should ask itself the opposite question: "Do we really want to lift this ban?"

According to Zorn, the city had good reasons to implement the ban, like concerns about parking and neighborhood character. Zorn also advocates for a local veto of ADU enabling zoning changes: "The proposed change contains no provision for precincts to vote to exempt their areas from the construction of ADUs and no limit on the number of external, back-of-the-lot cottages or internal basement apartments that could open up in any one block."

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 in Chicago Tribune

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