City Council approves ordinances allowing accessory dwelling units, family suites

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo— Colorado Springs City Council approved, with a vote of 5-3 Tuesday, three ordinances allowing for accessory dwelling units and accessory family suites in all zone districts. The ordinance will be presented to City Council for a second reading and vote June 23, after which the ordinances will take effect July 3, 2020.

“Passage of the ordinances allows for more flexibility to help family members age in place, provide a wider range of housing options at different price points and provide residents the opportunity for extra income. Significant public input throughout the last year helped our community balance the need for additional housing options while addressing concerns about neighborhood density and character,” said Peter Wysocki, Planning and Community Development Director for the City of Colorado Springs.

The three approved ordinances, which will not supersede private covenants, include two types of dwellings and provisions to provide flexibility for new residential development. 

Ordinance 1.1 – Accessory Family Suites

Accessory family suites will be permitted by right in all zone districts where a detached single-family home is an allowed use. These types of units are permitted as part of a detached single-family residence, but would not be allowed as a detached structure. Currently a single-family home can be occupied by one “family” as defined in the zoning ordinance, which would continue to apply to properties that contain an accessory family suite.

Ordinance 1.2 – Definitions and Accessory Dwelling Units

A step beyond accessory family suites are accessory dwelling units and would allow a second family, as defined in the zoning code, to occupy the property. In single-family zone districts an ADU may be integrated into the primary home, detached structures are only allowed in two-family and multi-family zone districts. This ordinance also reduces restrictions and for detached ADUs in two-family and multi-family zones where they are currently allowed.

Ordinance 1.3- Accessory Dwelling Unit Overlay Zone

The accessory dwelling unit overlay zone provides flexible housing options for new residential development. The ADU overlay may only be used in conjunction with the zoning of new residential development and may not be applied to existing neighborhoods.

Key Takeaways:

·       Accessory family suites do not increase the potential number of individuals living in a home more than what is currently allowed today

·       A public process would not be required to build a family suite

·       Only attached, integrated ADUs can be considered in single-family zone districts, must be approved by the City Planning Commission, and must be owner-occupied

·       Detached ADUs will continue to be allowed in two-family and multi-family zone districts

·       Ordinances will NOT supersede private covenants

The adopted ordinances incorporate input gathered from the community, since ADUs were first introduced in January 2019.

For more information, including the approved ordinances visit

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