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Construction workers build housing in Salisbury, Mass., in January. Additional housing could be built in Colorado Springs if homeowners are allowed to add secondary living units to their homes, known as accessory dwelling units. 

Much more housing could be allowed in Colorado Springs’ single-family neighborhoods in the form of so-called granny flats if a revised proposal gains traction with City Council members.

Granny flats, officially known as accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, could help provide more affordable housing throughout the city, by allowing single-family homeowners to add a secondary home to their property, said Peter Wysocki, planning and development director. But many members of the council had concerns last year that allowing ADUs to be built on about 68,000 additional single-family lots in the city could lead to population growth without consideration for increased traffic and other side effects, Councilman Don Knight said. The city has spent more than a year reconsidering the original draft ordinance.

The revised proposal would allow homeowners in single-family neighborhoods to build ADUs integrated into their homes for renters, their elderly parents and their adult children. Those living in the home and secondary unit would have to meet the city’s definition of a family, which includes residents who are related and a group of not more than five unrelated people, according to the proposal.

Allowing this type of housing unit, known as an accessory family suite, could help address several challenges facing the city, including the shortage of affordable housing for young adults and the wave of baby boomers who are aging and might need their children to care for them, Knight said.

“We are going to be able to handle the new challenges that are coming, while still protecting the integrity of single-family residences,” he said.

Colorado Springs officials call 'densification' fears overblown

Residents interested in building an accessory family suite would have to provide one additional off-street parking space, according to the proposal.

The city may allow homeowners in single-family neighborhoods to build an ADU integrated into their home for a second family through a conditional-use permitting process that would require them to notify their neighbors and give neighbors a chance to share their perspective with city staff. Homeowners interested in this type of ADU would be required to live on the property for six months of the year, according to the proposal.

“This is not a carte blanche,” Knight said.

Residents interested in building an ADU detached from their home would need to apply for a variance, according to the proposal. It is unlikely a detached ADU would be a good fit on most lots, particularly in newer neighborhoods but one could be allowed in low-density neighborhoods, Wysocki said.

The Colorado Springs Planning Commission will review the new ADU proposal Thursday.

The meeting with start at 8:30 a.m., and residents can call into comment after the item they are interested in brought up.

The number to provide comment is 720-617-3426 and the conference ID is 541 553 822#.

Contact the writer at mary.shinn@gazette.com or (719) 429-9264.

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