New Auxiliary Dwelling Unit (ADU) for Parents

ADU Project Helps City of Dundee With Regulations

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Existing House and New Accessory Dwelling Unit

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New Accessory Dwelling Unit For Parents

Sisters wanted to build an attached accessory dwelling so they can care for their parents. The parents desired a two-bedroom, two-bathroom “apartment” with a full kitchen, a living room, and a laundry room; they also requested large closets and other storage. Because the father has serious health problems and is confined to a wheelchair, the family also wanted access between the existing and new residences. A wide, covered breezeway met their needs. The new accessory dwelling unit complies with all of the Universal Design amenities:

    • A ramp to a large landing by the front door;
    • Wide doorways;
    • A 5-foot turning radius in all the rooms except the guest bedroom;
    • Smooth floors with no area rugs;
    • Easy access to the kitchen table;
    • Grab bars, a generous seat, and a hand-held personal shower in the large, curbless shower; 
    • Lever handles on doors and plumbing fixtures;
    • Good-quality lighting inside the ADU;
    • Bright, safe lighting on the ramp, the porch, and in the breezeway.

PROBLEM: The City of Dundee was at the brink of establishing codes for Accessory Dwelling Units, and was leaning towards limiting the size of ADU’s to 800 square feet in a totally separate structure.

Updated Regulations About New Accessory Dwelling Units

CREATIVE SOLUTIONS: Attending planning meetings armed with plans and calculations, Diane Plesset, a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist, proved that a minimum of 900 square feet was needed to maintain wheelchair accessibility. The timing was perfect to help the City of Dundee (and other municipalities) to develop regulations that will allow new accessory dwelling units that are totally accessible and comply with Universal Design standards. Dundee allowed a breezeway between the residences. But they required that exterior walls on both sides of the breezeway were framed to satisfy fire-wall regulations.  Read the story about this very special project.

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