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Evansville, Vanderburgh County, Could Adopt ‘Mother-in-Law Suite’ Ordinances

 Accessory Dwelling Units must be 400 t0 800 square feet, per the proposed ordinance before both the city and county government.
Detached Accessory Dwelling Units must be 400 to 800 square feet, per the proposed ordinance before both the city and county government.

A new residential ordinance allowing 'Accessory Dwelling Units,' will get its first reading Monday at the Evansville City Council meeting; ordinance could help ease housing crisis in city

Evansville City and Vanderburgh County have identical ordinances up for discussion on these Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs.)

“This will allow residential property owners no matter how your property is zoned, whether it's R one R two, R three, to have an accessory dwelling unit on your property,” said County Commissioner Cheryl Musgrave previewing the ordinance during a meeting last week.

The Commision has a hearing for the ordinance May 23rd. The City Council’s first reading is Monday May 22.

Currently, ADUs aren’t allowed under city or county ordinance, according to Area Plan Commission Executive Director Ron London.

“We're trying to give people the freedom and flexibility to be able to do something with their property that would enhance their property under certain conditions.”

Conditions include the owner living on the premises.

“That's just to make sure that the property is maintained, because we do have a lot of issues with houses that are being rented or leased.”

These ADU’s can be 400 to 800 square feet, and cannot be larger than the primary dwelling.

London said application fees will be between $50 to $100, but can be received “over the counter” instead of seeking approval in a public meeting.

The ordinance was first approved by the Plan Commission.

If approved in the city, the ordinance could help ease the need for additional housing in Evansville.

“I think what we've heard most is a demand for addressing the housing crisis,” said City Council President Zach Heronemus. “Accessory Dwelling Units are just another tool for us to manage the crisis and bring more affordable housing to our community.”

Heronemus said according to the Department of Metropolitan Development’s Housing Needs Assessment, Evansville needs about 5,500 more dwelling units in the city — including 1,000 for low-income housing.

“I think we need to really have every opportunity for every type of development — a homeowner or rental unit available, and I think the ADU ordinance gives us a greater opportunity and another tool to address that.”

The city Council will vote on this ordinance June 12 after a first reading and public hearing. The County Commission has their own adoption process for their version of the ordinance.

Both entities can approve or deny their ordinances.