Mayor backs “Mother-in-Law” housing

The official term is Accessory dwelling units, or add-ons for single family lots

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly wants to allow you to add on a room for your family member.


He wants to allow accessory dwelling units in Chattanooga.


It’s the official term for “in-law suites,” carriage houses or “granny flats.”


That’s when a homeowner wants to add an additional room or apartment onto their property for a relative.


The Mayor is looking for ways to address the city’s affordable housing crunch.

“Chattanooga is on the brink of becoming a city in which our children cannot afford to live, and that is unacceptable,” Kelly said. “This ordinance will allow our seniors to age in place, support multi-generational households, and create energy-efficient housing while also maintaining the character of our neighborhoods.”


His staff reports that the average cost of a home today in the city is $290,000.  That’s more than $130,000 jump in just seven years.


The jump has left 43% of renters as “housing burdened,” meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on their housing.  22% of them are spending more than half of their income on housing.


The Mayor’s accessory dwelling proposal is just one plank in his affordable housing initiative.


Here are the details of the ordinance:

— ADUs must be permanent structures limited to 700 square feet in size

— Only one ADU per single-family dwelling

— No front yard ADUs, just in the rear or side yard

— 2 story limit, and cannot exceed the height of the principal home. 

— You cannot eliminate parking to create an ADU

— ADUs must stick to the architectural design of the principal home, including the facade, building materials, roof and windows.

— The ordinance does not supersede homeowner association rules or historic district guidelines 

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