Southeast Ogden ADUs

What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit?

An Accessory Dwelling Unit, or ADU, is a small, separate living space that exists as a portion of an owner-occupied, single-family home, or that exists on the same property as the owner-occupied, single-family home. These are commonly referred to as basement apartments, guest houses, mother-in-law apartments, or granny flats and are regulated differently than duplexes, traditional rentals, and vacation rentals.

Why Accessory Dwelling Units?

The City adopted an ADU ordinance initially in 2008 with a significant update taking place in 2016. It is felt that ADUs can provide many benefits to a community and to homeowners. They can serve as a living space for newly married couples, students, single adults, older or retired persons, and small families who want to live in a single-family neighborhood environment. In addition to providing another housing option, ADUs can provide homeowners with assistance in maintaining their homes, providing additional security, and reducing financial burdens.

What are the standards for ADUs?

The primary residence must be a single-family detached home and must be owner-occupied. Any new construction related to the creation of the ADU must be architecturally compatible with the original home and must not alter the exterior appearance of the home. Any new entrances must be located to the side or rear of the home. If located within the main home, the accessory unit may not occupy more than 40% of the building. If the ADU unit is detached from the home in an accessory building, it must be between 300 and 800 square feet. The ADU must comply with all building, health, and fire codes with specific focus on emergency access from bedrooms. 

The home must have the required parking for the single-family home. Additional parking for the ADU may not be added in either the front or side yard. Homes without the required two parking stalls may not have an ADU. The parking for ADUs is accomplished by parking in tandem, i.e. parking on the driveway that leads to the required parking, behind the required parking for the home.

Occupancy of the ADU is limited to no more than two adults, either related or unrelated, and their minor children, if any. Occupancy for the primary residence is set forth in the City’s definition of a family which is defined as any one of the following groups living together as a single, non-profit housekeeping unit:

-          Two (2) or more individuals related by blood, marriage, adoption, guardianship, or other duly authorized custodial relationship;

-          Two (2) unrelated individuals and any children of either such individuals, if any; or

-          A group of not more than three (3) unrelated individuals.

How is an ADU different from a duplex?

An ADU may only exist within or on the same lot as an owner-occupied, single-family home. A duplex is defined as two separate and equal dwelling units within one building. Neither dwelling unit within a duplex is required to be owner-occupied, and each unit in the duplex may be rented to a separate single family as defined by the City ordinance.

Is an approval required to create an ADU?

Yes. If a homeowner wishes to create an ADU, that homeowner must apply for a business license with the City. The application requires a site plan and floor plan which is reviewed and approved by the Planning Department. If changes to the structure are proposed, proper building permits must be obtained from the City’s Building Department. A no-cost business license is required for the ADU which must be renewed annually. Business licenses for ADUs do not transfer with ownership changes. A new owner of a home with an ADU must apply for an ADU permit and business license in order to utilize it.

Can a property have grandfathered (non-conforming) rights for an ADU?

Because ADU licenses are required to be renewed annually, and do not transfer from owner to owner, there is no opportunity for homes to have non-conforming rights as ADUs. If, at a certain point, the City no longer permitted ADUs, any existing ADUs would then no longer be permitted. This is similar to a vacation rental permit.

Brief History

2000-2001 – Accessory Dwelling Units are discussed with the City’s city-wide downzoning of residential areas. Though discussed at the time, no proposal was formally adopted.

2007-2008 – Discussions began again about ADUs with the development of the Mt. Ogden Community Plan. The Planning Commission recommended ADUs be allowed city-wide through the creation of ADU overlay zones. The Council, however, adopted an ordinance in 2008 requiring the overlay zone but limited it to areas where the associated community plan specifically allowed the ADU overlay zone.  

2015 – The City began discussions once again about potential changes to the ADU ordinance. The Council requested the Planning Commission review the issue and provide a recommendation on how ADUs could be allowed city-wide and how the approval process could be simplified in an effort to get illegal ADUs properly licensed.

2016 – The City Council approved an ordinance based on the Planning Commission’s recommendation that removed the overlay zone requirement but maintained all of the design, parking, appearance, and licensing standards. The ordinance excluded ADUs in certain areas within the Mt. Ogden Community Plan area as well as areas covered by the East Central Community Plan. Both of the plans include language specifically regulating ADUs in those planning areas.  

Petition Filed in 2017

In July of 2017, a group of eighteen individuals representing twelve households filed a formal petition with the City to amend the zoning ordinance to exclude ADUs within the Southeast Ogden Community Plan area. The formal petition was accompanied by a list of individuals representing an additional 134 households in the Southeast Ogden planning community who have expressed support for the petition.  

Next Steps

The Council will consider the petition at its regular meeting on February 6, 2018. The meeting will begin at 6 pm and will be held in the Council Chambers on the third floor of the Municipal Building (2549 Washington Blvd.).

Comments or Additional Information

Comments or requests for additional information may be submitted to the City Council office at 801-629-8153, or to the Planning Department at 801-629-8930. Comments may also be submitted to