Auburn Approves Secondary Dwelling Units

  • May 07, 2021

New opportunities are now available for Auburn homeowners interested in building a second dwelling unit, also known as an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), granny flat, in-law unit, walk-up, cottage unit, secondary suite, or if you are from Germany, “einliegerwohnung.”

Call it what you will, but the City of Auburn leads the way in creating new opportunities for Accessory Dwelling Units.

The option for a second dwelling unit is now available, whether a property owner wants to generate extra income, create more housing for the local workforce, or house family members. Whatever the reason, it is now possible for many property owners to offer Auburn’s high quality of life to more people without buying more land.

“We regularly field inquiries from residents about the construction of an additional dwelling unit on their property,” said Eric Cousens, Auburn’s Director of Planning and Permitting. “Auburn’s zoning ordinance has allowed a second unit in or attached to most existing single-family homes for decades, but that opportunity is now expanded to include a second, separate structure on a parcel.”

The zoning change, approved last Monday by the Auburn City Council, allows for additional infill development and better utilization of existing infrastructure for the city and for property owners.

Unlike many other communities across the US, the second unit is no more restricted in size or location than the initial unit - an intentional decision that sets Auburn “ahead of the curve” for growing families and creates exciting opportunities. “Many communities limit the size of a second dwelling, but our Planning Board wanted to ensure that second home could be larger than the first,” added Cousens. “This allows owners to better utilize their land, a meaningful step toward making home ownership affordable and available for everyone.”

The decision also aligns with the City’s recent Strategic Plan recommendation to “refine neighborhoods and support rehabilitation and beautification.”

“We know that not everyone wants to live with their mother-in-law in their single-family home,” said Cousens. “This new option allows for a second home nearby and will be a good fit for many families.”

Anyone interested in exploring options for a second dwelling unit should contact Auburn’s Planning and Permitting team at (207) 333-6601, Ext 1133 to explore options.