CENTERVILLE - City officials are wondering if mother-in-law apartments might solve the housing problems of two generations.
The Centerville City Council has asked the planning commission to study the possible use of Accessory Dwelling Units (commonly known as ADUs or mother-in-law apartments) in the city. They hope to determine if the units, which are independent, fully outfitted residences located on the same property as a single-family home, would solve the problem of affordable housing for young married couples in the city and the care and home maintenance needs of older residents.
“There are a lot of single family lots in the city, some of which are owned by older residents who no longer have the ability to take care of them,” said Centerville Community Development Director Cory Snyder. “This way, they could sell the home, build a cottage house in the back, and still be able to stay in the neighborhood.”
ADUs would also help young, newly married couples, who according to Snyder face high rents when looking for housing in Centerville. Moderately priced rent for a young couple in Utah is currently $750, while Snyder said that costs in Centerville range from $900 to $1400 depending on amenities.
“That’s fairly high rent for a new family to deal with,” he said.
The online information gives a sample layout of an ADU, lists some of the typical ADU regulations currently in place, and highlights some of the advantages and disadvantages of such dwellings.
The planning commission is currently requesting that residents educate themselves on the concept of ADUs, with more information on the topic available online at centerville.ut.net. Over the summer, the commission plans to hold several work sessions and roundtable discussions seeking the public’s input on utilizing more ADUs in the city.
“We want to have a discussion with the public,” said Snyder. “Hopefully residents will study the idea of these dwellings, so we can see if they should be offered in Centerville.”
At the moment, the law states that family members can live in such residences, such as a grandparent or a teenage child of the people living in the single-family home. One possible discussion point is to see whether the law should be expanded to allow people to rent out ADUs to non-family members, and if so what they should be classified as.
“Is it a duplex? A multi-family dwelling?” asked Snyder. “We would have to decide that.”