New ADU Permit Landscape in Salt Lake City


Well-known member
Aug 26, 2023
In Salt Lake City, homeowners and property developers delving into the realm of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are experiencing a recent surge in permit applications following significant changes implemented by the City Council in April. Despite prevailing financial challenges, the adjustments have effectively streamlined various regulatory and design obstacles, leading to an unprecedented increase in interest.

Notably, the recent modifications allow for more spacious and taller ADUs, regardless of the size of the primary residence, indicating a departure from the previous constraints. Additionally, the requirement for off-street parking can now be waived, especially for properties in close proximity to transit options or bike lanes. These alterations mark a notable departure from the earlier regulations, which limited the size of ADUs to 50% of the primary dwelling's dimensions.

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Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
The recent surge in permit applications for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in Salt Lake City is a positive development. The City Council's changes in regulations are a breath of fresh air, promoting more spacious and flexible housing options. Waiving off-street parking requirements for transit-friendly areas is a step in the right direction, supporting sustainable living. These progressive changes benefit both homeowners and the community, addressing housing challenges while promoting accessibility and eco-friendliness.
This sounds like a really significant change to the city's ADU requirements. I imagine there was quite a bit of pent-up demand from homeowners for whom building an ADU didn't make sense under the old requirements, especially for factors they couldn't control as much like availability of off-street parking.

Under the previous requirement that ADUs be less than 50% of the primary dwelling's size, I imagine homeowners with smaller houses being penalized somewhat as they'd obviously be more limited in ADU options compared to homeowners with bigger houses. Plus, who really cares how big someone's secondary ADU is compared to their main house? Getting rid of that blanket restriction definitely makes sense to me.
As a development professional for over 25 years, I think this shift is important. We need to increase density where we can, to address the 6.5 Million dwelling unit shortfall that we have in this country. While not a solution to our affordable housing crisis, this is another great tool in the toolbox for cities to use. City of Phoenix just did the same thing on 10,000 square foot lots and it was met with overwhelming public support.