Chris Berg | November 29, 2022
Jacksonville’s City Council recently passed two ordinances that allow property owners to construct accessory dwelling units on certain residential properties. This action comes at a time when many local governments are contemplating legislative solutions to combat rising housing costs in their jurisdictions.
Updates to Jacksonville’s Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code
The Council amended the Future Land Use Element (FLUE) of the City of Jacksonville’s Comprehensive Plan and its zoning code.
The ordinance amending the Comprehensive Plan adopts FLUE Policy 3.1.29, which defines an “accessory dwelling unit” as “an ancillary or secondary living unit, that has a separate kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping area, existing either within the same structure, or on the same lot as the primary dwelling unit.” This FLUE policy permits one accessory dwelling unit on a conforming residential lot within the Agriculture, Rural Residential, Low Density Residential, Medium Density Residential, and Residential-Professional-Institutional Future Land Use Categories. The only residential Future Land Use Category not covered by the FLUE policy is the High Density Residential category.
The ordinance amending the zoning code set out the regulations to govern accessory dwelling units in the city. The newly adopted ordinance only permits accessory dwelling units associated with conforming single-family dwellings. The accessory dwelling units must be located behind the primary structure, be visually similar to the primary structure, have a footprint that is the lesser of either 25% of the gross floor area of the primary structure or 750 square feet, and meet the zoning code’s height requirements for accessory structures. Accessory dwelling units may not be located in a required yard. The accessory dwelling unit may be either attached or detached to the primary structure. But units that are attached to the primary structure may not have direct, internal access to the primary structure.
The ordinance also limits construction of accessory dwelling units to properties with homestead exemptions or properties that qualify for a homestead exemption whose owner has applied for (and expects to be granted) a homestead exemption. Finally, when applying for a permit to construct an accessory dwelling unit, the property owner must certify that there is no deed restriction or homeowner/master association rule that prohibits the property owner from constructing the accessory dwelling unit.