Coach House: Legalize It?
It’s hard to find accessory dwelling units (ADUs) or coach houses to rent in Chicago, because it’s illegal to build new ones and older ones can only be rented if they have been continually rented every year since they were constructed. "Current zoning does not allow for the construction of new coach houses. The detached residences, typically located at the rear of a lot behind the main dwelling, have been outlawed since the 1950s," AJ LaTrace reports for Chicago Magazine.
Urban planner and Streetsblog editor Steven Vance argues that the city needs to allow ADUs and let property owners rent the ADUs that have already been built to create more housing in the city. These homes could gently increase density without having to tear down existing properties and add housing supply in neighborhoods facing rising rents.
Some, like architect Manuel Hernandez, are unconvinced that coach houses would truly create affordable housing. "[Hernandez] adds that a flood of new coach houses could erase thousands of off-street parking spaces, further congesting the streets,” LaTrace writes.