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Accessory Dwelling Units Text Amendment


On Friday, June 13, 2014, Council Member Bender of Ward 10 announced her intent to propose changes to the zoning code that would make accessory dwelling units (ADUs) allowed on a citywide basis. An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) – also known as “granny flats”, “mother-in-law apartments” or “alley flats” – is a self-contained living unit that can be located within the walls of an existing or newly constructed home, or that can be an addition to an existing home. It can also be a freestanding structure on the same lot as the principal dwelling unit or a conversion of a garage or carriage house.

ADUs have received significant attention nationwide in recent years, as a way to provide more flexible housing options in built-out urban neighborhoods. Within the past few decades, more and more municipalities across the country have been adopting standards to allow or encourage the construction of ADUs. Commonly-cited examples include Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, Denver, and Savannah. Several Minnesota cities have also relaxed restrictions on ADUs, including Bloomington, Plymouth, Faribault, Minnetonka, Stillwater, and Long Lake. Communities are looking to ADUs to help make progress toward a variety of community goals, including:

In 2001, the City adopted the NP North Phillips Overlay District to allow for the construction of accessory dwellings in a portion of the Phillips neighborhood. However, outside of this portion of the city, the Minneapolis zoning code does not generally allow ADUs. CPED has received an increasing number of inquiries related to allowing ADUs from a wide variety of voices, including homeowners, renters, neighborhood organizations, community leaders, and advocates in the active living, senior housing, transit, architecture, and affordable housing communities.

The Department of Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED) will be leading and coordinating the effort to revise the zoning code with these changes based on best practices research and feedback from stakeholders and community members.

What types of ADUs is the City of Minneapolis considering?

The City of Minneapolis is currently considering all three types of ADUs: internal, attached, and detached. The amendment would establish parameters for the development and regulation of ADUs on a citywide basis.

Open Houses

The City held four open houses in August and September 2014 to share their research and to engage the community on possible provisions for the draft text amendment. In addition, the City offered a survey at the open houses and online to gather input on the regulation of ADUs in Minneapolis. Please click below for a summary of the responses to the survey, as well as the open house materials. Thank you to those who participated!
Open House Materials

Draft Ordinance Language

Below is the draft text of the zoning code text amendment that will be reviewed by the City Council. Please send us your comments if you would like them to be included in the public record.

Send your comments

Upcoming Meetings

Below are the tentative meeting dates for the City Planning Commission, the Zoning and Planning Committee of the City Council, and the City Council.


Last updated Nov 20, 2014