If you live 1/2 mile from University Avenue loosely speaking from Lexington up to 280 and Emerald Street and from Minnehaha Avenue to Marshall Avenue you may be eligible to build a secondary living unit on your property. ADU stands for Accessory Dwelling Unit. In St. Paul you must have a lot size of 5000 ft.² or greater. The largest ADU you can build is 800 ft.² of living space. Decks and patios do not count in this measurement. There can only be one ADU per lot.
The steps to take
- The first step is to check with the zoning department and make sure that you qualify. I have spoken with Karen Zacho in St. Paul’s Zoning Department to get information about whether a property qualifies and what the requirements are.
- The second step is to design your unit. You will need a building permit from the city. You will need detailed working drawings/construction documents to present to the city. As an architect I of course recommend that you work with an established residential architect. You don’t have to work with an architect. You can work with just a contractor. However because you are designing a unit to match your home and for a specific purpose it is in your best interest to work with a registered architect.
How an architect can help
- An architect can more expertly interpret your wishes, understands light and flow and the full scope of potential uses for the space as well as resale value.
- An experienced architect can create detailed documents which meet or exceed City or county code requirements.
- An architect can also represent you and your interests in any meetings you might need to
Things you need to know
1. The owner must reside on the property.
2. A second dwelling unit (ADU) can be attached or detached.
3. Generally speaking your ADU can be the same height of your existing house. If you, for example, you have a one story home, your ADU you must be one story as well. You could add on to your existing one story dwelling. This would affect the potential height of your ADU.
4. There must be a sidewalk that runs from the street to the main entrance of the ADU.
5. The ADU must have one offstreet parking space.
6. An ADU cannot be sold separately and is included in the main unit tax assessment. For more information about ADU please call me at 651-210-7042. I’m happy to answer any of your questions. I offer a free one hour consultation in my home office in Union Park. My office is centrally located near Macalester Groveland, Merriam Park, Midway And Desnoyer Park.