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Taubman students and faculty voice support for affordable housing at City Council meeting

Friday, April 10, 2015

Taubman students and faculty voice support for affordable housing at City Council meeting

Doug Kelbaugh, Professor of Architecture and Urban and Regional Planning, and Luke Norman (M.U.P.’15) were quoted in media coverage of a recent Ann Arbor City Council meeting which discussed accessory dwelling units (ADUs).

Accessory dwelling units are rentable secondary housing units within the walls of an existing home, added as a new addition to the home, or in a freestanding structure on the same property. ADUs are one option to increase Ann Arbor’s supply of affordable housing but their legalization is still in talks with City Council. 

City officials are looking into whether the city's zoning show allow for homeowners in single-family neighborhoods to build these ADUs or rent out existing spaces. 

A smaller carriage house that is rented out as an apartment can be seen behind the larger main house, which also is rented out as apartments, at the northwest corner of Ann and Division streets in downtown Ann Arbor. (Ryan Stanton | The Ann Arbor News)

Norman spoke in support of ADUs and requested that the council make legalizing ADUs, and hiring a city consultant to move plans forward, a top priority. Hiring a consultant to review the existing plan and make recommendations moving forward will cost the council around $25,000. City Council budget recommendations will be presented on April 20th and will determine the inclusion of this ADU-related cost. 

Professor Kelbaugh noted that ADUs are “ideal for young and for single workers who otherwise would have to live, as we’ve heard, in other municipalities.” He also stated that this is a “double-whammy” for both the renters and primary property owners in terms of affordability. 

The issue of ADU housing was considered back in 2002 but the plan was shot down due to community backlash and fear of student invasion into residential neighborhoods.

Taubman College hosted an event on March 31, “Affordable Housing, ADUs, and You!” detailing the work of local activists and residents who are building support for ADUs and other affordable housing, sparking interest and debate on the subject leading into the City Council meeting. 

Visit the MLive and Michigan Daily websites for the complete articles and to learn more about ADUs.