Mountain Housing Council releases study on ADUs |

Mountain Housing Council releases study on ADUs

Hannah Jones

In order to increase construction of accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, to fill the housing gap, the Mountain Housing Council has released a study to highlight the challenges of building these units in the Tahoe region.

“One of the big focuses is creating a bigger inventory of homes”,”said Seana Doherty, project director for the Mountain Housing Council. “That’s why we’ve been looking at ADUs because we think they create a diversity of housing types.”

In August, the Mountain Housing Council, the Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe, and the Truckee Chamber of Commerce sent out a survey to community members to gague the challenges of building ADUs.

More than 90 people responded with the main challenges they face building ADUs on their property. Of those, 78% of said design or permit applications are overly complicated and a challenge to understand, 67% said ADUs are too costly to build and 45% said their local community does not allow ADUs.

According to local contractors, the study states, a local ADU unit can cost up to $300,000. Modular companies, however, have been releasing products that drop the price to around $100,000.

One of the advantages to building an ADU, Doherty said, is giving homeowners an extra source of income to pay off their mortgage.

“If people own a home already in Truckee and they could build a secondary unit it would keep people in Truckee as they retire,” she said.


On Aug. 30, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 670, created and sponsored by the town of Truckee, which forbids homeowner associations from prohibiting secondary units. Additionally the state has eliminated parking requirements for ADUs and changed zoning requirements to allow ADUs in multi-family zones.

In November, Truckee announced plans to incentivize construction of accessory dwelling units to provide more affordable housing stock in the town. The town currently has $2 million set aside in general housing designation funds and is planning to put $500,000 toward an ADU program.

“State laws are coming down the pipeline to reduce barriers,” Doherty. “The Mountain Housing Council is a compliment to the work already happening.”

Though the paper is just a start to the work that has to be done, Doherty said it’s a good first step.

“We hope to get it out to increase awareness,” said Doherty. “Hopefully in the next six months you’ll go in and there will be a brochure or a website and it will be just about ADUs.”

The full study can be found at:

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or

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