Reno Planning Commission unanimously votes against Accessory Dwelling Units

Reno considers allowing more in-law suites to help alleviate housing crisis

UPDATE: Shortly after midnight on Thursday, Sept. 20, the Reno Planning Commission unanimously voted 6-0 to recommend that the Reno City Council vote against Accessory Dwelling Units.

Commissioners were concerned that the ADUs, which are also known as in-law suites or granny flats, would not be compatible with Reno’s master plan, since they would affect the density and character of existing neighborhoods.

As Reno's housing crisis shows no signs of letting up, city officials are starting to think small when it comes to fixing this big issue.

Wednesday night, the Reno Planning Commission is set to consider a proposed city ordinance that would allow for more "accessory dwelling units" within city limits.

You may know them as "in-law quarters" or "granny flats" — essentially small studios nearby or attached to existing single family homes.

"It's not going to solve our housing crisis that we're facing today, but it will help," said associate city planner Heather Manzo.

Manzo, who is helping draft the new policy, said the accessory dwelling units, also known as ADUs, are currently only allowed in a few neighborhoods.

Right now, you can only build an ADU if you live in the Greenfield neighborhood or if you live on a five-acre lot that has recently been annexed by the city.

The new policy would allow for ADUs in many new areas, except for the County Club Acres and the West University District.

In a recent change, some historical and conservation areas will also be exempted after the city received negative feedback earlier this year.

The newly exempted areas include the Wells Avenue area, the Powning area and the Newlands area.

Jackson Hogen, who lives in a neighborhood now exempted by that change, echoed the sentiments of many who submitted public comment online.

"You're creating rental units, you're not creating live-in units. Nobody has that many grandmothers they need to stockpile in this part of the world."

"Once you increase density and you allow that density to increase uncontrollably you inevitably change the entire character of a place," Hogen said.

Under the current ordinance, the ADUs would have to be constructed on lots larger than 9,000 square feet.

The maximum size of the ADU would be either 600 or 800 square feet, depending on the lot size.

The current policy prohibits the property owner from renting out the ADU for any time period less than 28 days.

The Reno Planning Commission is set to hear the item during its Wednesday night meeting, which starts at 6:00 p.m.

This is a developing story. Check back to News 4-Fox 11 for updates.

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