City Council approves accessory dwelling units in limited area of Logan

This map from the Logan Community Development Department illustrates the area near Utah State University where state-mandated accessory dwelling units will be allowed.

LOGAN – As expected, the Logan City Council has taken a cautious approach to authorizing accessory dwelling units within the city’s limits.

With a unanimous vote at their regular meeting Tuesday, the members of the city council approved the creation of separate rental units within a residential zone bordering Utah State University.

Under state laws recently enacted to address Utah’s growing housing crisis, cities statewide are required to allow so-called accessory dwelling units (ADU’s) in at least 33 percent of their residential areas. Proponents of that statute in the Legislature argued that allowing the creation of apartment spaces within existing residences was a way to increase housing availability without dramatically changing the character of neighborhoods.

But local officials still had discretion to decide on areas of their cities where the new apartments would be allowed.

The Logan City Council held a public hearing on the ADU’s on Sept. 7 and continued discussion of the issue on Tuesday.

In August, the members of the Logan Planning Commission had unanimously recommended that accessory dwelling units be allowed citywide. But council members overruled that suggestion, opting instead to limit the affected portion of the city to what was termed by city officials as the Small Utah State University Buffer area.

According to community development director Mike DeSimone, that area includes all residential zoned property bounded on the west by 200 East; on the north by 1400 North; on the east by 1600 East; and the south by 300 South and the Logan River.

Specifically excluded from that area is a buffer zone around USU of approximately .78 miles radiating from Old Main Tower.

DeSimone said the area in which the accessory dwelling units will be authorized covers nearly 3,400 acres and includes more than 3,700 residences.

But not all of those homes will meet the state-mandated qualifications for creating an ADU on their property.

Those qualifications include that the ADU must be created within the footprint of an owner-occupied, single-family home located on a 6,000 square-foot lot or greater.

The city ordinance approved by council members on Tuesday bans detached accessory dwelling units and ADU’s in mobile or manufactured housing. At least one off-street parking space must also be available for the ADU resident.

The city ordinance also banned the use of an ADU as a vacation rental or for short-term occupancy.

In their discussions of the ADU issue on Tuesday, council members agreed that one of their primary concerns was protecting the Adams neighborhood, which is already one of the city’s most densely populated areas with a high percentage of rental units.

The council members also pledged to review the impact of ADU’s in the Small USU Buffer zone in 18 months to determine if the new city ordinance should be modified.

Under state law, the members of the city council were required to specify an area of Logan where ADU’s were authorized by the end of September or citywide authorization would automatically have been implemented.

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