On Tuesday, the Auburn City Council once again pushed back its consideration of a new performance housing type, Academic Detached Dwelling Units, until its first meeting in April. 

The move to table the item for the second time came after the city met with developers last Thursday. At the meeting, developers indicated that they wanted ADDUs to be treated as a by-right use instead of conditional in certain zoning districts, as well as for it to be allowed in more districts than initially proposed, said Auburn City Manager Jim Buston at the council's packet meeting last Friday. 

"One of the things they told us was — if true or not we don't know —  ... that with this uncertainty around how the council will eventually vote on this that their money is drying up. They aren't getting the funding to do this," said Buston, who added that the developers did indicate that they would agree with the city that this type of performance housing type should be defined separately as an ADDU instead of single-family detached housing, as well as with the requirement that one off-street parking space per bedroom be provided, but not the 1.1 parking space requirement suggested by the Planning Commission. "They wanted it to be by-right in certain areas, and we think that should be conditional. 

"We'll come back to the council, saying this is what the developers have asked us for, this is what we're able to do and this is what we don't recommend."

The proposed ordinance would define ADDUs like the city's private dormitory use, where “the typical unit configuration includes common space for living and cooking and private bedrooms, each with a dedicated bathroom” but no master bedroom/master bath and with bedrooms and common spaces that are typically smaller in floor area than those found in single-family detached dwelling units. The ordinance would also require 1.1 off-street parking spaces per bedroom.

The ordinance amendment would permit ADDUs in the city’s three Urban Neighborhood Districts — East, West and South. ADDUs would be a conditional use in Corridor Redevelopment Districts Urban and Suburban and in the Redevelopment District, and be subjected to review by the Planning Commission and City Council for a number of issues, including compatibility with the surrounding properties. 

ADDUs would not be permitted in Neighborhood Redevelopment District, which covers areas that include Canton Avenue. That developers were building what would be defined as ADDUs under the city's single-family detached housing use in the Canton Avenue spurred action by the city after residents complained that those developments amounted to gentrification of their traditionally African American neighborhood.

Developers have also complained that ADDUs would not be allowed under the proposed use as currently drafted, with one claiming that the new ordinance would “eradicate” ADDU developments in the city, primarily because property values are too high in the districts where those developments would be allowed.

The City Council will consider ADDUs again at its April 2 meeting.

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