Jacksonville Legalizes Accessory Dwelling Units

The city expanded the areas where homeowners can build ADUs in an effort to boost housing supply and affordable rental units.

Read Time: 1 minute

November 16, 2022, 6:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Wooden two-story homes on the beach in Jacksonville, Florida

Lynne Neuman / Jacksonville, Florida

Two bills passed by the Jacksonville City Council will legalize accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in most Jacksonville neighborhoods, except where prohibited by homeowners associations. As Mike Mendenhall reports in the Jacksonville Daily Record, council member Rory Diamond, who sponsored the bills, says “the new structures would increase property values where they’re built, particularly in Jacksonville’s urban neighborhoods where advocates say the need is greatest.”

Restrictions in the bills include an owner-occupancy requirement and a rule stating that the ADU must adhere to a similar aesthetic style as the main home. The addition’s footprint must be limited to 25 percent of the house or 750 square feet, and the structure cannot be taller than the house.

Opponents say the proliferation of ADUs could “ruin the ‘ambiance’” of the city’s traditional single-family neighborhoods, a common concern among ADU detractors. Yet ADUs, once known as carriage houses, are common in some of Jacksonville’s most historic neighborhoods. Accessory units only fell out of favor more recently, when single-family zoning began to dominate America’s residential neighborhoods.

Other supporters of the bills say many Jacksonville residents were already building ADUs, and that legalizing the process would make their construction safer while adding sorely needed housing stock.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022 in Jacksonville Daily Record

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