Last month News10 Tampa Bay featured an article titled, “St. Petersburg approves expansion of ‘mother-in-law suites’ to address housing crisis”. (Eric Glasser, July 15, 2022)
An accessory dwelling unit (ADU), commonly called a “garage apartment” or “mother-in-law suite”, is not a new concept. What is new, however, is how it is being viewed – as an innovative way to address the city’s housing crisis.
By expanding the zoning eligibility for ADUs by about 50% into more suburban neighborhoods, the City hopes more owners will add a second home on their property and use it for family members or rent it out. (https://www.wtsp.com/article/news/local/pinellascounty/st-petersburg-accessory-dwelling-units-housing-crisis/67-c97e6435-9119-46b3-afb3-c01c00961ac7)
Accessory Dwelling Units
An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a smaller independent living space on the same lot as a single-family home. An ADU can be attached to the home itself or it can be a separate structure on the owners’ property, such as a tiny house. If attached to a house, ADUs must have separate kitchens and bathrooms as well as egresses. Regardless of its physical form, legally the ADU is part of the same property as the main home and cannot be bought or sold.
ADUs – Piece of the St. Petersburg’s housing puzzle
According to Local Housing Solutions (https://localhousingsolutions.org/housing-policy-library/accessory-dwelling-units/), for localities, ADUs can be a relatively inexpensive way to create low-cost housing units, free up low-income housing, and increase density in single-family areas, while reusing existing infrastructure such as water and sewer.
About 30,000 homes in St. Petersburg qualify to have ADUs. With the City Council giving the green light to zoning regulation changes allowing more owners to turn detached properties into rental units, that number would expand by close to 50%. “The supply is limited so we have to address that by reviewing our zoning regulations and seeing where there might be opportunities to make changes that still can protect the character and the look and feel of this city,” said Elizabeth Abernethy, the city’s planning and development director.
ADU Requirements – City of St. Petersburg
The City requires a minimum lot size of 5,800 SF for a homeowner to be eligible to build an ADU. With the proposed change, the minimum lot size will be reduced to 4,500 SF. While the change may not seem significant, it will open up nearly 9,617 lots citywide for potential ADUs. For more information, download building and permit application forms at: https://www.stpete.org/business/building_permitting/forms_applications.php
ADUs are already common in popular neighborhoods such as the Old Northeast, Historic Roser Park, Historic Uptown and Crescent Lake.
St. Petersburg Communities
Greater Pinellas Point
Historic Old Northeast
Historic Roser Park
Isla del Sol
If you’re interested in any of these of communities or live in one and are thinking of selling, talk to The Mesimer Team.