The Hilton family

Have you ever considered adding a separate suite or carriage house to your home? These additional living spaces, commonly referred to as accessory dwelling units (ADUs), can be a positive investment for families, especially when it comes to multigenerational living. They can also contribute to enhanced financial stability.

Madison resident Sabrina Hilton has invited the City along on her family’s journey as they break ground on a new ADU.“My ultimate plan is to be able to offer a housing option to my parents if they need or want to live closer to us. In the meantime we plan to rent it out,” said Hilton.

Hilton’s family took advantage of the 2022 limited funding program the Backyard Homes Project, aimed at increasing housing choice in the City. To kick start the creation of more ADUs in Madison, the City provided loan financing to four ADUS that met City zoning requirements. The Hilton’s ADU is one them.

The Hiltons' ADU project in early stages

“We are able to stretch the designs of our plan to include a lot of very energy efficient features that we would not have otherwise been able to afford,” said Hilton.

In December 2021, City Council made ADUs a permitted use in all zoning districts where single-family homes are allowed, meaning as long as you live in one of those areas (you’re encouraged to confirm this through Zoning), you are eligible to add an ADU. Prior to this move, all ADUs required special approval through the conditional use process.

ADUS can be a great way to combat the shortage of available, affordable, and sustainable housing when space for building more is limited. The cost to rent an ADU is traditionally less expensive than renting a condo in the City.

ADUs are not a new concept. They were a common feature in single-family housing in the early 20th century. ADUs can be attached to an existing home or built above an existing garage. They can be carved out of an existing building, splitting one dwelling into two by converting underutilized spaces like garages into new independent units.ADU types

The other three ADUs the City is providing loan assistance for are at different stages of development. One of the ADUS will be built by a class at Madison Area Technical College as part of its Tiny Home Program.

In the City of Madison, an ADU is only allowed on owner-occupied properties and can be up to 900 square feet of living space with two bedrooms at most. ADU loan funding is no longer available, but City staff would be happy to provide guidance to anyone interested in adding an ADU to their property. For questions, email or call 608-266-4551.

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Mayor's Office and a link back to the original post.