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Alexandria Refines Accessory Dwelling Units Policy and Cuts Parking Requirement

Alexandria is moving forward with plans to implement new Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) policies aimed at making it easier to build units both attached to existing houses and separately on residential lots.

ADUs are generally small units sold or rented out to residents other than those in the main house. ADUs increase the availability of housing stock and have been eyed as a potential solution to the decline in market-rate affordable housing. These hopes for ADUs are also frequently paired with concerns that they could add density to Alexandria’s existing neighborhoods.

Staff said in a presentation to the Planning Commission yesterday that the proposal is any single-family, two-family or townhouse dwelling can apply to have an ADU. Staff has also done community outreach to gather public feedback and said that 56% of those surveyed supported ADU policies, while 26% did not and 8% were still undecided.

Early on in the process, Alexandria prioritized making the ADU process not too onerous on property owners, an issue that has plagued Arlington and led to a widespread lack of ADU implementation. Staff said there would be a no-fee permit required for ADUs in Alexandria.

“Having permit process would increase predictability for applicants seeking ADUs,” staff said.

Only one ADU would be allowed per lot and — at least in current plans — the permit would require the owner to live  on the property. Staff said this requirement helps ensure the use remains compatible with the neighborhoods.

Staff told the City Council that the policy has undergone some refinement.

“We want to be really intentional about these units remaining accessory,” staff said. “It should not be occupied by more than three persons. We still need to do more research for owner occupancy requirement.”

The ADUs could also be used as short-term rentals, though concurrent rental of the main house and the ADU would not be permitted. No additional off-street parking will be required for ADUs, a decision staff said was intended to cut down on excessive driveway space.

Image via Arlington County

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If you had a chance to enhance a child’s future with a time commitment of less than 2 hours a week, how would you respond? You have that opportunity right now to join over 200 Alexandrians as a reading tutor volunteer with the Alexandria Tutoring Consortium (ATC).

ATC tutors work with one child in kindergarten, first, or second grade in Alexandria public schools who need extra help with reading. Tutors meet with their Book Buddy 1-2 times each week for 30 minutes October-May at school, during school hours. Many struggling readers only receive one-on-one instruction through this program, and it makes all the difference. Last year, ATC served 195 children, of whom 82% ended the year reading on grade level and 96% made substantial reading gains. But the need is great, and we are still seeing learning lags from the pandemic.

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Family Fun Fall Fest

Mark your calendars and join us for the Family Fun Fall Fest on Saturday, October 7, 2023, from 11am – 2pm!

This FREE in-person event will be held at the Shoppes at Foxchase, located at 4641 Duke St, Alexandria, VA

2023 Alexandria Fall Festival

Food trucks, bounce houses, pony rides, magic shows and more at the 2023 Alexandria Fall Festival, an Alexandria Living event presented by The Patterson Group. Join us at River Farm on Sunday, Nov. 5 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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