Plymouth Considers Changes To Allow Accessory Dwelling Units
Plymouth residents like Molly Dalsin may soon be able to add accessory dwelling units–or ADUs–to its properties if city leaders approve changes to city code.
Dalsin works as an architect and has helped residents of other cities design ADUs where they are accepted. She said the changes would allow her and her family to add a wing on to her home.
“With the intention of having a kitchen, a bathroom, living room, bedroom, a small apartment, basically–with some shared spaces, as well,” Dalsin said as she described the possible plans of what would come out of the back of her home into her sizable backyard.
“Allowing for accessory dwelling units that are designed in a way to sort of enhance what we have–both enhance the community and allow more people to join our community and bring value to us–but also to capture the space, utilize the indoor-outdoor space really well, that can be designed,” she said.
Right now, Plymouth ordinances allow for basically only above-garage apartments. City leaders have been discussing for months how to expand and change the ordinances to allow for more in-home and separate dwelling units on existing lots.
“I think one of the biggest reasons the planning commission recommended approval of it is that aging in place and allowing people to re-invest in their homes,” said Chloe McGuire, Plymouth’s planning and housing development director. “If approved it would have to match the architectural integrity of the neighborhood and not stick out like a sore thumb.”
McGuire said all plans would have to go through the city’s existing permitting process. She said many of the questions from residents involve fears of what could happen if the changes are approved.
“I think the biggest question staff has gotten thus far is: ‘What is an accessory dwelling unit?’ ‘Can my neighbor live in an RV in the back yard? Or a tent in the back yard?’ Something like that,” she said. “No, that’s not the case.”
The city also does not want any ADUs to be eligible for short-term rental on websites like VRBO or Airbnb. Additionally, the owner will have to live on site. The ADU may be eligible for long-term rentals. In that light, it may not just be so-called “mother-in-law suites” that homeowners want to add.
Dalsin said it’s possible some families will want to offer living spaces for others who are looking for more options than what’s currently available in Plymouth.
“I think it also allows for young families or people that maybe aren’t ready to take on the home ownership themselves,” said Dalsin. “It allows them to take that next step into home ownership without full-throttle buying a home.”
The Plymouth City Council is expected to take up the issue at its meeting on Aug. 8.