Tiny Houses Could be Coming to Baltimore

Legislation introduced by City Councilman Ryan Dorsey would allow for the construction of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in Baltimore.

According to the website, accessorydwellings.org examples of ADU’s include apartments built on top of garages, tiny houses in backyards, and basement apartments. These types of living arrangements were once found throughout the United States.

But in the postwar period, ADUs were outlawed. The thinking at the time was that density should be discouraged and zoning should be as uniform as possible. Placing an apartment over a garage or allowing someone to build a small apartment in their backyard was seen as something that would disrupt “the character of a community” or impede “quality of life.”

But as has been the case with many postwar planning policies, accessory dwelling units and the policies banning their construction are being reconsidered. At a time when rents are becoming increasingly unaffordable and increasing numbers of Americans prefer walkable, dense communities, ADUs are seen as a way to create affordable housing.

There are many examples of ADU’s in Baltimore. Councilman Ryan Dorsey brings up the examples of carriage houses in Mt. Vernon and Charles Village. But if we allowed new construction of ADU’s, the possibilities for what could be constructed are endless. For example, new units could be built in the backyards and garages of expensive neighborhoods like Roland Park, which could provide affordable housing through allowing individuals who would otherwise be unable to afford to live in these communities to live in them. Such changes could be done without dramatically altering the character of the existing neighborhoods.

We encourage all those interested in this old-fashioned, yet innovative form of housing to write your Councilperson today in support of ADUs.

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Gregory Friedman

Gregory Friedman

This article was written by Gregory Friedman. Click here to meet our writing team.

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