What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit?
An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is an independent, residential living area that is on the same property as a larger, primary dwelling unit.
The term accessory describes the unit as secondary to the primary unit, in the same way a garage is of secondary importance to a home. These units are typically limited in size to help reduce impacts on neighbors and blend in with the surrounding homes.
Benefits of Accessory Dwelling Units
- Provides supplemental income to homeowners
- Offers an affordable housing option for smaller households
- Provides seniors, especially those living alone, with another housing option and allows older owners to age in place
- Provides a lower-cost housing for younger residents
- Offers a quicker and easier way to boost housing production
- Diversifies the range of housing types available in the City of Roanoke
Learn more about the benefits of ADUs from the City of Seattle:
Accessory Dwelling Unit Guidelines
Accessory Dwellings must meet the following guidelines:
- Located in a building that is accessory to, and is located on the same lot as a single-family detached dwelling
- Only one accessory apartment shall be permitted on any 1 lot
- An accessory building cannot be separately metered for utilities from the principal single-family detached dwelling
- The floor area of the accessory apartment cannot exceed 800 square feet 80% of the gross floor area of the principal residential use with which it is associated
- Notwithstanding the minimum lot area per dwelling unit specified in Table 36.2-312 of the Code of Ordinances, an accessory apartment cannot be considered as a dwelling unit for purposes of determining the minimum lot area per dwelling unit.
Reference Sec. 36.2-402 and Sec. 36.2-403 in the Code of Ordinances for more information
Examples of Acceptable ADUs
Examples of Unacceptable ADUs
How Do I Obtain a Permit?
- Determine if your lot will meet the minimum requirements for an accessory structure
- Create a budget for your project
- Choose a design (An architect can assist you with designing your own plan)
- Prepare a site plan
- Submit an Accessory Structure Permit
- Submit a Certificate of Occupancy
Lots located in special districts may be subject to additional guidelines to obtain a permit.
Visit the City of Roanoke GIS website to find out if your property is in a Special District. Either search for your address or toggle each Special District in Layers. Visit each website to learn more information:
If you have questions or concerns email us at Planning@roanoke.va.gov
Permit/Zoning Questions: 540-853-1090 or firstname.lastname@example.org