Con­sider build­ing ADU for your aging par­ents

San Antonio Express-News (Sunday) - - TASTE & MYSA -

What Is An ADU?

An ADU is typ­i­cally a small, stand­alone struc­ture with its own bath­room, sleep­ing quar­ters and kitchen, placed in a home­owner’s back­yard.

In a re­cent AARP sur­vey of adults 50 and older, 31 per­cent said they’d be will­ing to con­sider build­ing one, per­haps to help them pro­vide care­giv­ing to their par­ent there.

“I was sur­prised the num­bers were so high,” says Danielle Arigoni, di­rec­tor of liv­able com­mu­ni­ties at AARP.

Ac­ces­sory Dwelling Units Are Spread­ing

In­creas­ingly, cities and towns are up­dat­ing their zon­ing rules to per­mit the con­struc­tion of ADUs, es­pe­cially in places where hous­ing costs are high.

Los An­ge­les Mayor Eric Garcetti is back­ing a plan to build 10,000 back­yard units by 2021. Austin, Texas, Bos­ton, Chicago, Den­ver, Port­land, Oregon, Seat­tle and Washington, D.C., are up­dat­ing their hous­ing codes for ADUs, too, says Eli Spe­vak, a Port­land de­vel­oper who co- founded the site ac­ces­so­ry­d­wellings.org.

The Lim­i­ta­tions of ADUs

But ADUs have a few lim­i­ta­tions that have pre­vented them from be­com­ing main­stream. For in­stance, even when ADUs are le­gal lo­cally, other bar­ri­ers ex­ist, says Arigoni. Cer­tain com­mu­ni­ties con­sider them eye­sores, mak­ing con­struc­tion dif­fi­cult.

An­other ob­sta­cle: Although ADUs are gen­er­ally small, they’re rarely in­ex­pen­sive. Spe­vak says many cost $150,000 or more.

How to Get An Ac­ces­sory Dwelling Unit Built

If you’re con­tem­plat­ing hav­ing an ADU built for your par­ent, check with your town’s plan­ning or build­ing depart­ment for its rules. Next Av­enue’s Richard Eisen­berg, Emily Gurnon and Shayla Stern write ro­tat­ing col­umns on money, health and life­style.

Read­ers can con­tact them at reisen­[email protected]­tav­enue.org, [email protected]­tav­enue.org and [email protected]­tav­enue.org.

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