RD629 - State of the Market and Local Policy: Accessory Dwelling Units in the Commonwealth of Virginia – November 2021

Executive Summary:

The following reports the findings of a data and information gathering exercise to provide the Accessory Dwelling Unit Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) and the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) input on key issues related to accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The work performed in this analysis and the SAG was implemented pursuant to House Bill 2053.

The research undertaken covers issues related to:

• Assessing local jurisdiction efforts in counting the number of ADUs in their communities;

• Consideration of market trends that impact the demand and supply of ADUs;

• Review policies and actions taken by selected Virginia localities regarding ADUs; and,

• Identifying best practices by localities or states regarding the role of ADUs as contributions to the local supply of housing.

The format of this report takes on the form of a briefing paper. The observations and findings reported here have been presented to the SAG with the assistance of DHCD staff in a series of virtual meetings held during the summer and early fall of 2021. This report summarizes the data and information provided in those briefings.

The report is organized into four sections. Section 1 reports the findings of several stakeholder interviews with local officials, businesses, professional organizations, and others with special knowledge of the policies and market conditions for ADUs in Virginia. Section 2 offers a review of the extensive professional and academic literature that has emerged over the past several years as governments explore the role of ADUs in the housing market and the potential for this type of housing to contribute to the supply of workforce housing or to meet specific homeowner needs. Section 3 provides examples from jurisdictions across the nation that can be considered best practices for policies and programs to encourage the development/creation of ADUs. Finally, Section 4 offers some insights from the research team on the specific issue of how local jurisdictions could improve upon existing strategies for counting existing ADUs.