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City Reviewing Accessory Dwelling Policy, Soliciting Feedback at March Meetings

Alexandria is looking to study a new accessory dwelling unit (ADU) policy in Alexandria with some community input.

ADUs are defined by the city as secondary, independent living units with a separate kitchen, sleeping area and bathroom, in converted garages or new structures detached from a primary residence.

According to the city, ADUs can:

  • Bring in rental income that helps cover housing costs for both first-time homebuyers and long-time Alexandrians at risk of being priced out of the city;
  • Provide on-site housing options for multi-generational families, caregivers for seniors and persons with disabilities, live-in childcare providers and other caretakers;
  • Enhance housing affordability for the City’s workforce, including recent graduates and young professionals.

Arlington recently loosened its restrictions on ADUs and Alexandria began looking at its ADU policies last January as part of an effort to create more equitable and affordable housing. The City said on its ADU website that the goal is to create policies that make new ADUs compatible with the neighborhood while increasing lower-cost housing and providing housing flexibility.

“The creation of an ADU program is part of City Council’s 2020 Workplan and its efforts to ensure that affordable, quality housing is available to residents at all income levels,” Tony LaColla, Land Use Services Division Chief for the City of Alexandria, said in a press release. “While these units alone will certainly not solve the housing crisis, they do fill an important gap.”

ADUs have faced some pushback in neighboring jurisdictions, where homeowners are concerned about the increased density in residential neighborhoods and the increased demand for parking.

A community meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the Mount Vernon Recreation Center (2701 Commonwealth Avenue). The City said in an event listing that staff and representatives from D.C. think tank Urban Institute will give a presentation on a new ADU policy and solicit feedback from attendees.

Another community meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 30 at 6:30 in the Beatley Library (5005 Duke Street).

A survey will be conducted in early April to gather more public feedback, according to the press release.

After the community meetings and the survey, LaColla said a set of standards and regulations will go to the Planning Commission for a June hearing and to the City Council for a hearing in July.

Photo (3) via Brett VA/Flickr

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