Wednesday, December 22, 2021

ADUs in Provo

The Utah State Legislature passed House Bill 82 (HB82) in the last legislative session and it went into effect on October 1, 2021. This has been the subject of a lot of discussion on whether or not Provo needed to do anything in regards to the new legislation. Councilors have received a lot of email on this topic and have met with various Provo residents. The Council also discussed the topic of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in a joint meeting with our local state legislators

Prior to the discussion in the work and regular Council meetings on December 14, 2021, the Council's attorney offered up an analysis of the legislation and clarified the potential discussion points moving forward. You can watch the discussion in the Council meeting here: The information is also provided below.

The effect of the State's legislation is that internal ADUs are a permitted use in ALL primarily residential zones throughout the state and may not be regulated or restricted by cities. One of the allowed provisions is that cities MAY prohibit ADUs in a certain percentage of their residential areas. In most cities throughout the state that limit is 25%. Those cities may prohibit ADUs in up to 25% of their primarily residential areas. In certain cities with universities of a certain size (like Provo), the city MAY prohibit them in up to 67% of primarily residential zones.

HB82 didn't create a mandate for cities to find places to allow ADUs. It said ADUs are permitted, but cities can choose where to prohibit them within certain limits. The first point of discussion is whether or not Provo needed to make any changes to its City Code in response to HB82. Because of the way Provo's Code was written (see illustration above), the change in the State Code says that ADUs are specifically permitted and Provo doesn't currently have provisions in the code that prohibit them anywhere. So if the Council desired to prohibit ADUs somewhere in the city, they would need to pass an ordinance to do so.

Another item that changed during the discussions during the past several months is where to focus. It was originally a focus on where ADUs were allowed. When HB82 was passed, ADUs were only allowed in 22% of Provo's residential zones. First attempts were aimed on bringing that up to 33% (based on prohibiting in 67%). More recently, the format of the ordinance was changed so it doesn't say anything about where they're allowed. It just provides a manner for them to be prohibited.

In the December 14 Council Meeting, the Council focused on adopting a city ordinance that would meet the format of HB82 by listing where ADUs are prohibited so they would actually be prohibited somewhere. And in determining where ADUs should be prohibited, they needed to make sure it was not in more than 67% of primarily residential zones.

The ordinance passed by the Council on December 14 amended Chapter 14.30 of the Provo City Code to delete the text that previously distinguished between the A and S overlays and restate the ADU requirements that were contained in that section in a way that talks about ADUs generally. It also restates the principle of HB82 by saying that as required by State Code we recognize that ADUs are a permitted use in all primarily residential zones except where subsequently prohibited by the Code. It then provides a section where the prohibited locations can be listed. The ordinance passed also says that detached accessory dwelling units and detached accessory structures containing an ADU are a permitted use in those areas where internal ADUS are permitted.

Primarily residential zones:
  • Residential agricultural (RA)
  • One family residential (R1)
  • Two family residential(R2)
  • Low density residential (LDR)
  • Medium density residential (MDR)
  • High density residential (HDR)
  • Campus mixed use (CMU)
  • Very low density residential (VLDR)
  • Residential manufactured home park(RM)
  • Residential conservation (RC)
  • any Project Redevelopment Option (PRO) zone
  • Specific development plan overlay zones 2-5
Internal ADUs prohibited in the zones:
  • All Project Redevelopment Option (PRO) zones except the High Density Mixed Use PRO zone, Arbors on the Avenue PRO zone, Independence Avenue PRO zone, Hollows at Riverwoods PRO zone, Liberty Place PRO zone, and Spring Creek High Occupancy PRO zone
  • Areas in the Lakeview Fields (SDP-4) Specific Development Plan Overlay zone and the Villages at Celebration (SDP-5) Specific Development Plan Overlay zone
  • Areas designated R1.7, R 1.9, or R1.10, including such areas with the Performance Development overlay
  • Areas designated R1.6 or R1.8, including such areas with the Performance Development overlay, except as shown in a specific map (This is a map of current A and S overlay areas)

The Council appreciates the many residents who engaged with them in this discussion. There were meetings with residents as well as email, public comment at the meetings, phone calls and input received on Open City Hall. 

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