Discussion – Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

“Are Accessory Dwelling Units an option to achieve more inclusive housing options in Smithville?”

Across the county, accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are a hot topic in cities when discussing housing policies to encourage more housing options for people of all ages. ADUs (also known as granny flats, in-law suites, and backyard bungalows) are small residences with a single-family lot with a larger primary housing unit. These independent living spaces (filled with kitchens/kitchenettes, bathroom, and living/sleeping spaces) allow homeowners to provide housing for aging parents, adult children, and other loved ones.  ADUs often become rented units when homeownership changes or family needs change.

With Smithville’s desire to incorporate more housing options for both current and future residents, as well as Smithville’s projected growing need of providing aging-in-place opportunities, ADUs may be an important component of the city’s housing strategy over the coming decade.

Task Force Survey Result

QUESTION: What types of Accessory Dwelling Units make the most sense to incorporate in Smithville’s homes?

ANSWER: 63% Task Force respondents would welcome backyard bungalows, apartments with separate entrances, garage apartments, and in-law suites in the home while 25% would prefer no ADUs in Smithville. When considering which types of residential developments may be best to prioritize for incorporating ADUs, 78% of Task Force respondents preferred flexibility by allowing any type of residential lots that can reasonably accommodate an ADU.

Types of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

(Image Source: AARP, The ABCs ADUs)

We would love to hear your thoughts!

What factors are important when considering if and how Accessory Dwelling Units may be a strategy to achieve more inclusive housing options in Smithville?


  1. Heather Rutkowski
    September 29, 2020 at 4:23 am · Reply

    My 92 year old grandmother needs a place like this desperately.
    I don’t even understand why it is even a second thought that something like having a unit in the same yard of a house would be something not to consider. I would if I had the money to put one in my yard.
    What Smithville really needs though are more places with small apartments like by the library.

    My grandmother choose to live with family but that does not necessarily go well over many years, and she deserves to not live in an unhealthy environment. She is very independent and still even drives. She has been on housing lists for the ones by the library for over a year and will still be for another year or more. This is not the only location we have been waiting on for over a year. It’s extremely frustrating that there are such long wait lists for anything in the northland if you want to be in a decent location, and have a fixed income. I am a single mother and can’t afford to make up the difference to put her into an apartment for $900 month. All the government housing make it so difficult to put yourself on the list with many pieces of paperwork to fill out, and it is confusing if you need to fill out paperwork at all locations.
    There are not enough senior apartment locations.

  2. Julie Petesch
    October 1, 2020 at 8:18 am · Reply

    I would like to see affordable maintenance provided 55+ communities outside of the city limits with small homes, small yards where we can age in place and enjoy the beautiful nature our Smithville area has to offer.

  3. Debra Dotson
    October 3, 2020 at 7:27 am · Reply

    I agree that not enough attention has been given to the needs of seniors. It’s sad that something like Covid had to happen to bring the needs into sharper focus. “Sandwich Generation” is an old…but still relevant term. Families sandwiched between the needs of their children and the needs of their aging parents or grandparents. Not everyone can bring an aging family member into their home. The plethora of split level homes, the lack of “age in place” construction practices never took senior needs into consideration. Nor did the current construction practices consider what would happen if a family had to “do something about Mom (or Dad)”. Other states have been at the forefront of such considerations for decades. Developers here…and elsewhere…chose to focus on “family friendly” development and forgot that seniors were part of the family too.

    Another ADU consideration is Veterans. There are so many young Vet’s who have sustained horrific injuries to mind, body and spirit…and it seems more to come. An ADU could provide shelter for many of these people…who want and need their own space…but require specialized environments….zero steps etc. An ADU might better serve that need than having a home torn apart with retro fit construction.

    Many seniors…and Veterans….are still fiercely independent. Some…would literally rather die by their own hand than to be crammed into a nursing home or other “warehouse” type facility. An ADU could provide “Life with Dignity”….and enable people to lovingly care for their family members in need.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *