Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance in Consideration; Seeking Public Input

Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance in Consideration; Seeking Public Input
Posted on 09/20/2017

More commonly known as mother-in-law apartments, or basement apartments, accessory dwelling units are common in many neighborhoods across Cottonwood Heights. By definition, an accessory dwelling unit is a residential dwelling unit meant for one additional single family located on the same lot as a single-family home, either within the same building as the single-family home or in a detached building.

It’s likely you know homeowners in your neighborhood who rent out their basement. Maybe you operate one yourself. Many of the accessory dwelling units in Cottonwood Heights have existed since before the city incorporated. So why is a draft ordinance being considered?

Technically, every accessory dwelling unit in the city is illegal. There is no city code that allows for the creation and/or operation of such rental units, and yet they exist. Why is this? One contributing factor is many people aren’t aware that accessory dwelling units aren’t allowed. Another factor is they are difficult to find and enforce.

The city council feels that if accessory dwelling units exist in the city, then perhaps some regulations should be put in place to make them as safe as possible. Ensuring that families renting accessory dwelling units are safe and that the neighborhood is not negatively impacted are top priorities. An ideal ordinance ensures that parking issues are adequately addressed, and that the legal owner of a property lives full-time at any home containing the accessory dwelling unit.

This is where the city council is requesting the help of the citizens. A preliminary draft ordinance has been written, and the city is now seeking input. An initial public hearing was held on Sept. 6, with another hearing scheduled for Nov. 1. In the meantime, the city continues to seek public input on the proposed ordinance.

Please read and review the draft ordinance attached. If you have further questions or would like to share your feedback, contact the city’s planning department or your local city council representative (contact information below). The city’s staff is ready and willing to meet with you to discuss your concerns, and wants to ensure that the planning commission and city council have as much feedback as possible prior to making any final decisions on the ordinance.

Click here to review the current Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance draft

Planning Department Contact:

Mike Johnson, Senior Planner


City Council Contact:

District 1 – Mike Shelton

District 2 – Scott Bracken

District 3 – Mike Peterson

District 4 – Tee Tyler

Mayor – Kelvyn Cullimore, Jr.