Charleston looking to deregulate accessory dwelling units to address affordable housing

Published: Apr. 23, 2022 at 4:31 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 23, 2022 at 11:18 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The City of Charleston is looking at deregulating a type of building to address its affordable housing need and to have more houses built in the city.

Charleston City Councilmember Ross Appel says if more accessory dwelling units are built and put on the market, then the price of housing will come down.

Accessory dwelling units are often called carriage houses or mother-in-law suites, a structure built in the backyards of homes.

Appel says the city wants to eliminate red tape, so more of these structures in the backyards of existing homes are built. The hope is that housing prices come down due to the extra supply.

The city is looking at taking away a rule that requires these buildings to be affordable for 30 years, which, Appel says, has been an obstacle for developers and homeowners.

However, if an ADU is built with help from a subsidy from the city, then the 30-year affordability mandate remains in place.

“We don’t want people to be artificially limited in terms of what they can charge,” Appel said. “The affordability requirement was a good-intended measure, but actually, that’s been currently in effect for the past year and a half, and we haven’t had a single accessory dwelling unit permitted since that time.”

Also with this change, neither the home nor the ADU will be allowed to be used as a short-term rental.

This change in the ordinance for these buildings will be up for the first reading at Tuesday’s council meeting.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.