If You Zone It, Will They Come? Recommendations for the Production of Accessory Apartments in the District of Columbia
Brandes, Uwe S.
In January, 2016, the District of Columbia Zoning Commission adopted a new zoning code. In addition to simplifying the code and adapting it to DC’s current context, the Zoning Regulations of 2016 include significant policy reforms. One of these reforms is a provision that allows for the by-right development of Accessory Apartments in certain residential zones in the city. As evidenced by the experiences of several cities that have adopted and implemented similar policies related to accessory units, Accessory Apartments, also known as Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) can provide many benefits to the individual, community, and city. The 2016 zoning change was an important and critical step in progress towards the production of Accessory Apartments in DC, however, the zoning provision will not independently mobilize the market for Accessory Apartment production. Rather, there are a number of steps that need to be taken to promote and encourage the development of accessory apartments in the District of Columbia. This paper explores the benefits and challenges related to ADU development and make recommendations for encouraging the production of accessory units in DC.
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