Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Contact: Mike Journee
208-972-8527 |

City Council Directs Easing of ADU Requirements In City's First Policy Steps for Its 'Grow Our Housing' Initiative

The Boise City Council, on Tuesday, directed City of Boise staff members to draft ordinance language that eases requirements for accessory dwelling units or ADUs. The updated ordinance, which will come back to the council for formal adoption in coming weeks, will be the city’s first policy steps to foster the creation of more affordable housing through its Grow Our Housing initiative.

The proposed changes to city ordinance come after extensive feedback from the public on earlier proposals from city staff designed to make ADUs a better tool for increasing the city’s housing stock and a better source of more affordable housing for a wide variety of Boise residents.

Under the city council’s direction on Tuesday, the ordinance changes will include provisions for:

  • Increasing the allowed size of ADUs to up to 700 square feet or 10 percent of the parcel size (currently limited to 600 square feet)
  • Allowing two-bedroom ADUs (currently limited to one bedroom)
  • Clarifying that two-bedroom ADUs must have at least one dedicated parking space on-site or on an immediately adjacent street with no exceptions (current requirements of one parking space per ADU can be waived depending on individual situations)

“Boise’s success brings huge benefits, but to be sure our city remains a place for everyone as we grow, we must create more opportunity for affordable housing,” said Mayor David Bieter. “These new provisions for ADUs are just one important part of our strategic Grow Our Housing effort. We think they will help make ADUs a more attractive housing option for small or single-parent families, students, recent graduates and young adults.”

As part of the process to develop the ADU ordinance changes, the City of Boise engaged in an extensive public feedback process through its Community Conversations on Growth workshops and an online community survey that garnered approximately 650 responses from community members.

Because of that public feedback, the city council directed staff to not include an earlier proposal that would eliminate the city code’s current requirement that the ADU owner must live on-site in the new ordinance language. Opposition to this proposal from residents centered around strong concerns that short-term rental services, such as Airbnb, would disrupt neighborhood character if adopted.

“It’s gratifying to see the important role our residents played in helping us craft these proposals,” said Mayor Bieter. “We’re hopeful that level of engagement continues as we develop more Grow Our Housing policies in the coming months.”

Once the new ordinance draft is ready, community members will be informed via the city’s website, social media and the city’s In The Know newsletter. Those who provided feedback previously on the proposals, as well as the broader public, will then be allowed to comment on the new ordinance language before it is presented to city council for final approval.


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