CONCERNS ABOUT ACCESSORY DWELLING UNITS
Bullet points for letters to M&C re ADUs:
- As there is no owner-occupancy requirement, this text amendment will increase the number of short-term rentals in the City, thereby driving up rents for everyone else. It will also increase the number of out-of-town owners (i.e. investors) of these properties who have no interest in or commitment to Tucson’s communities.
- Residents who own a home and reside in a Tucson neighborhood are dwindling. In GDNA single family homes are being bought at a very high rate, approximately up to 75% by professional investors just in the last 8 months. Any structure is already being turned into a rentable ADU, almost 100% of the time with no permit, requiring intervention by Code Enforcement, with no help from CE for pro-active enforcement.
- Existing guest houses are usually rented at market rate or as short-term rentals. It is highly unlikely that new ADUs will increase the supply of affordable housing.
- It has been suggested that ADU tenants will use public transit, so parking requirements can be waived. This is not the parking pattern at existing rentals. Several people rent a home, and the front yard quickly turns into a de facto parking lot. ADUs need parking requirements, and there should be no waiver provision. The picture below was taken a block from a bus stop. The vehicles are parked at night, but are in use during the day.
- The proposed size and height of ADUs are too large for the scale of our neighborhoods. ADUs should be no larger than 500 sq ft and no taller than one story.
- The proposed 1000 sq. ft. is essentially a small home, equivalent to many existing homes in Tucson. It is not the “casita” that staff would have us believe.
- Two-story ADUs that currently exist block views of the mountains, dwarf neighboring houses, and infringe on neighbors' privacy. One story should be the max.
- 1,000 square feet units are too big for most elderly people aging in place to manage.
- ADUs larger than the existing home should not be allowed.
- Isolating senior citizens in backyard ADUs without needed social and caregiving services may increase the risk of exploitation of this vulnerable segment of our population
- Through the 1990s, our urban core neighborhoods were more diverse than they currently are. Rising housing costs drove out renters and homeowners of color, as well as working-class families. Bringing housing costs down is the solution. New low-income housing must be built at a scale larger than one ADU at a time.
- PDSD staff has presented the ADU Code Amendment as meeting needs for affordable housing and aging-in-place. However, the larger the building, the more expensive it is to construct and the more that must be charged in rent to recoup construction costs.
- ADUs will not be affordable, because rents are market driven.
- Data being presented at the Planning Commission and Stakeholder meetings has typically been 2 years old, which is not reflective of the current market conditions (rapid price increases, investors routinely outbidding ordinary homebuyers).
- The ADU Code Amendment will have a negative impact on urban core neighborhoods. It will increase density at the expense of quality of life and green space.
- Greater density exacerbates the heat island effect. The City must pair any incentive for ADUs with a requirement to plant and maintain trees and to install water harvesting features.
- ADUs would be an increased burden on stressed, low-income neighborhoods that already have a high percentage of long and short-term rentals, high parking demand, and reduced green space.
- Once the ADU Code Amendment is passed by M&C, Code Enforcement will have no capacity or resources to monitor or mitigate the negative impacts of this amendment.
- If you approve this Code Amendment without a sunset clause, options for future revision will be limited, due to the Private Property Rights Protection Act (Prop. 207). Please include a two-year sunset clause.
- Neighborhoods with NPZs or HPZs are only partially protected, due to the fact that failure to comply with either building codes or use codes (such as the Group Dwelling Code Amendment) is complaint-driven by neighbors and neighborhood associations.
- Neighborhoods without historic zoning are especially vulnerable, as construction in those neighborhoods does not undergo design review to insure compatibility.
- Already, without the ADU Code Amendment, carports and garages that are built on property lines are being converted to ADUs. Setbacks are not adhered to.
- The proposed ADU ordinance permanently alters our current zoning code without the knowledge or consent of those residents who are most impacted. As a previous letter writer, who is a former city attorney, pointed out, this proposed amendment is really a rezoning of ALL residential property in the City to increase density.
- The proposed change of adding 1,000 square feet of living space as a 2nd home on a single property will have huge irreversible impacts. This will in effect end R-1 zoning.
- Code Enforcement is overwhelmed. It can take months to address problems like the one shown in the images below. Problems of this nature will increase as density increases.
- If you approve the ADU Code Amendment, only those neighborhoods that are Homeowner’s Associations will have the ability to retain the single-family character of their neighborhood, exacerbating the inequity and stress issues for many of our inner-city neighborhoods.
- The only neighborhoods that will be exempt from the ADU Code Amendment will be Homeowners' Associations, which are protected by their covenants. Central-city, low- and middle-income, densely-populated neighborhoods will be the ones to bear the brunt of this ordinance. The ordinance is not equitable in its impact on all Tucson neighborhoods.
- Neighborhoods with a 70-75% rental rate have less shade than neighborhoods with more owner-occupied homes. Investors know it costs money to water, so they allow mature trees to die. We cannot afford to lose more trees.
- There will be increases in people, crime, vehicle traffic, resident noise, building without permits, and code enforcement issues, with a decrease in privacy. The City has a lack of resources to support an increase in density and police these issues.
- Tucson’s roads are crumbling, our storm sewers clogged, and our alleys repositories of trash. Any plan for densification needs to be accompanied by a plan for infrastructure repair and service improvement.
- The lived experience of inner-city residents already contending with ADUs should be a cautionary tale. Problems include increased parking demand, reduced green space and short-term rentals.
- As density increases on the far east side of town, flooding has become a bigger problem in inner city neighborhoods. Covering the ground with more cement, asphalt and buildings will only make this worse.
- I am supportive of ADUs, but do not feel the ordinance will meet its stated goals of providing affordable housing and allowing seniors to age in place. A 1000 sq ft ADU encourages institutional investors to convert owner-occupied properties to rentals with two units.
- Changes need to be for Tucson, not based on other city’s ordinances and trends that are not Tucson.
- At this point in time, not all issues appear to have been seriously considered, with many being put aside as unimportant or unsolvable.
- If the Code Amendment is implemented, there should be a pilot program in a minimal number of neighborhoods (maybe 1 or 2) in order to test the changes. Turning on the water works to the entire City will be devastating and have permanent damage to the City and its architectural history.
- Throughout the stakeholder meetings and in our local newspaper, professionals in architecture and planning – individuals with a vested financial interest in the passage of the draft ordinance – have repeatedly accused community volunteers of selfishness, NIMBYism, elitism, and racism. This type of ad hominem argument has no place in public meetings, nor is it an appropriate basis for decisions that affect the public broadly.