AARP grant to fund free, publicly available plans for accessory dwelling units to reduce upfront costs for property owners

June 29, 2023
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Louisville Metro Government was awarded a $13,000 grant from AARP to host a design competition and purchase pre-reviewed plans for accessory dwelling units (ADU), making them free to use to anyone seeking to build an ADU on their property.

An ADU is a smaller, secondary dwelling located on the same property as a main home that can be used as housing for a family member or rented out as a secondary source of income for a homeowner. Property owners who use the publicly accessible plans will not have to hire a professional to design the ADU, saving an estimated $3,000 to $5,000, and allowing them to move more quickly through the building permitting process.

“One of my top priorities as Mayor is to invest in and grow affordable housing across our city, and one simple way to do that is by encouraging the creation of accessory dwelling units throughout the community, leading to greater housing diversity and affordability,” said Mayor Craig Greenberg. “Offering easily accessible and pre-reviewed plans to property owners is a no-brainer and a win for our city.”

Louisville Metro intends to purchase a minimum of three unique sets of plans, including a detached single-story unit, a two-story “carriage-house” designed for narrower urban lots and a single-story cottage for wider suburban lots. The city will host a meeting with architects and industry professionals on Friday, July 21, at 11 a.m. at the Metro Development Center. The deadline for submissions will be in early September. Winning selections will have universal design, energy efficiency, low- to moderate-construction cost, plan options, such as varying roof types, and compatibility with multiple neighborhoods.

In June 2021, Louisville Metro Council approved amendments to the Land Development Code to allow ADUs by-right in most areas of the city, meaning they only undergo a staff review process. Previously, many property owners seeking to build ADUs were required to obtain a conditional use permit, a longer, more costly process that included a vote by the Board of Zoning Adjustment.

Since Council’s amendment, Louisville Metro’s Office of Planning has approved 41 applications for ADUs. Prior to this change, fewer than four applications a year were submitted.

This grant is the second AARP grant received by Louisville Metro Government related to ADUs. The city was awarded a $10,000 grant in 2021 to educate the community on the benefits of ADUs for residents of all ages and to create greater awareness of new and existing requirements associated with them. Research shows that ADUs are an affordable housing option for renters, generate rental income for homeowners, allow seniors to remain in their homes and age in place, can house people at all stages of their life, use less energy and require fewer resources to build and maintain than full-sized homes.

For more information about ADUs, visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/planning-design/accessory-dwelling-units-adu.

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