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City of Savannah gathering feedback on relaxing accessory dwelling unit restrictions

Published: Apr. 20, 2022 at 3:22 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 20, 2022 at 5:24 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Starting Wednesday night, Savannah city leaders will start hearing from you about possible changes to rules dealing with accessory dwelling units, also known as carriage houses.

WTOC spoke with Savannah’s 4th district alderman about the push to take a closer look at the issue, and why it matters.

ADU’s, or accessory dwelling units, go by many names.

“Accessory dwelling units, also known as auxiliary dwelling units, also known as granny flats, also known as carriage houses, also known as mother-in-law suites...” said Alderman Nick Palumbo.

Palumbo explained ADU’s were written out of the City’s zoning code back in the 1940′s, making it extremely difficult to pursue building one now.

Alderman Palumbo said, “If you want to build one today, you can, but you have to hire an attorney and you’ve got to go through a long and convoluted process to get there.”

Palumbo said the City is exploring streamlining that process, he says potentially creating a pathway for more housing opportunities within Savannah.

“This is a housing type that makes Savannah famously walk-able, that you can grow up or grow down into a neighborhood. So the added advantage to a neighborhood like this, is you can move in for the first time as a rental unit into a carriage house. Or, if you’re getting of a certain age, and you’re ready to downsize, you can still live in the same neighborhood.”

While Alderman Palumbo said he does anticipate hearing some concerns about how this could lead to more short-term vacation rentals, he says the goal is creating more housing options and housing affordability.

The first feedback session is tonight via Zoom from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. for the first district. Alderman Palumbo is hosting his in-person at First Presbyterian Church on May 3.

Here’s a complete list of the community feedback meetings by district:

For more information, please contact the City’s Planning and Urban Design Office at 912-651-3018 or planning@savannahga.gov.

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