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Alexandria Allows Accessory Dwelling Units

02/05/2021

The Alexandria City Council approved a draft zoning text amendment policy allowing for accessory dwelling units in residential areas of the City. The policy must now be adopted as an ordinance and is not law until final passage. City Council will introduce the ordinance in early March with final passage anticipated soon after, by the end of March.

NVAR supported the policy recommendations expanding the ability of homeowners to build and utilize accessory dwellings. A copy of NVAR’s position on Accessory Dwellings may be seen here: https://www.nvar.com/realtors/issues/policy-positions

Under the policy, property owners may have one accessory unit on any property that is developed with a single-family, two-family or townhouse dwelling, and these may be attached within the home or detached as an accessory structure. Occupancy of the ADU would be limited to three or fewer people.

City Council approved the draft policy with several changes to the presented recommendations, including requiring owner occupancy at the time of construction of the accessory unit, prohibiting exclusive use as a short-term rental; adding a permit fee $75-$100, and requiring notification to neighboring properties of construction. City Council also advised staff to increase the setback requirements for detached units.

After final approval of the ordinance, City staff will continue to review the policy implementation and must come back to the City Council in 18 months with updates and any proposed recommendations.