Accessory Dwelling Units

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ADU FAQs General Steps How To Apply

The Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) text change was adopted by the Raleigh City Council on July 7, 2020. It is effective on July 22, 2020.  As a result of this text change, ADUs are allowed in the following zoning districts: R-1, R-2, R-4, R-6, R-10, RX, OX, NX, DX, and CX.

Read the full text change ordinance.


Question Answer
What is an ADU? Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) rules and regulations apply to a self-contained dwelling unit that is located on the same lot as an existing principal detached or attached dwelling for single-unit living. The ADU shall be independent of and subordinate to the principal dwelling.
What is included in an ADU? ADUs include a living room, sleeping area, kitchen, bathroom, and have a lockable external entrance. An ADU may be located above a garage. ADUs may be detached, attached, or internal to the principal dwelling.
What type of "use" is an ADU? Only residential uses are permitted in ADUs, and they must meet the requirements of Section 2.6.3 of the UDO.
What are the size requirements?

ADUs shall be located on the same lot as a principal dwelling and meet one of the following:

  1. The gross floor area of the accessory dwelling shall be less than the gross floor area of the total principal dwelling.
  2. Shall be affixed to or constructed on a permanent foundation and not be a manufactured home or moveable structure.

See the accessory structures section in the TC-16-19 text change for size restrictions.

How many ADUs can I have on my property? Only one ADU is allowed per single lot.
Can my ADU be on wheels? No. It must have a permanent foundation.
Extra information:
  1. If attached or internal, it shall be independent of the principal dwelling unit.
  2. It shall be accessed by an independent, lockable external entrance.
  3. ADUs cannot be sold apart from its principal dwelling unit.
  4. ADUs are not allowed within a Cottage Court development. 
  5. It shall meet all relevant standards and requirements of the UDO, provided however accessory dwelling units shall not be subject to Article 6.7 Accessory Uses and Structures and Sec. 7.1.2.C Parking Requirements by Use.


General Steps

Is a building permit required for an ADU?
Yes. This permit is available through Planning and Development.

Do ADUs require utility connections?
Yes, and they can be metered separately from the house.

How To Apply

A request for an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) will be submitted by completion of a Residential Permit application. 



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