Louisville Metro Government awarded $10,000 AARP Community Challenge Grant

July 29, 2021

Louisville Metro Government will receive a $10,000 grant from AARP to educate the community on the benefits of accessory dwelling units for residents of all ages and to create greater awareness of new and existing requirements associated with them. District 21 Councilwoman Nicole George applied for the AARP Community Challenge Grant on behalf of the city.

An accessory dwelling unit, or ADU, is a smaller, secondary dwelling located on the same property as a main home. In June, as part of the ongoing equity review of the Land Development Code (LDC), Metro Council approved a regulation change that will open the door for more property owners to build ADUs on their land for family to use or to rent out, creating greater housing diversity in Louisville.

Fewer than 4 ADUs applications have been submitted Metro-wide each year for the last 10 years. Meanwhile, 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.

“Thank you to Councilwoman Nicole George and her staff for taking the initiative to apply for this grant on behalf of Louisville Metro Government and to AARP for funding it,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “As we move forward with additional reforms to the Land Development Code aimed at rectifying the historical inequities built into cities’ land use policies, it is important that we hear from residents every step of the way.”

The LDC is a set of rules that regulates development and what can be done with private property. Many elements within the LDC have not been revised since the early 1960s and continue to incorporate discriminatory policies first introduced in 1931.

Metro Council voted in June to allow the Office of Planning and Design Services staff to review applications to build ADUs, including accessory apartments, rather than requiring them to go through the lengthier conditional use permit process if one of the units is owner occupied.

“I want to thank Director Emily Liu from Planning and Design Services for being willing to innovate! This grant was selected from amongst 3,560 Challenge applications nationwide. It gives us as Metro Government the opportunity to be intentional with our communications in order to promote the benefits ADUs and the process for having one,” said Councilwoman George. “My hope is that this method will become a model for sharing with the public land use changes within our city.”

Planning & Design Services will use the grant funds to hire a contractor to produce a marketing strategy plan for spreading community awareness of current ADU policies and reform efforts. The plan will include social media outreach, a community sentiment survey, the production of educational materials, and the gathering of community member experiences related to ADUs.

Louisville Metro Council and the Planning Commission announced the full-scale equity review of the Land Development Code in July 2020. Following months of community input and research, Planning & Design Services staff released its first set of recommended LDC reforms in February, and in June, Metro Council approved the change to the ADU application process, as well as the following:

  • Requiring notices be mailed to residents, as well as property owners, so residents, including renters, are better informed about potential development that could impact them; and
  • Revising current zoning requirements to reduce obstacles to creating market gardens, community gardens and similar uses.

For more information about efforts to reform the Land Development Code, visit https://louisvilleky.gov/ldcreform.

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