A terrific way to add value to your property is to build an ADU, an Accessory Dwelling Unit.
An ADU can be either an attached or detached secondary residence that is smaller than the primary residence.
A property with a detached ADU has often been called a house and cottage. An attached ADU has often been called a legal mother in law suite.
Recent City of Colorado Springs planning department updates have clarified what is allowed to be constructed where. So whether you own a property where you wish to build an ADU, or you wish to purchase a property where you can build an ADU, the planning department is your primary resource to determine if this will be possible.
First, check your zoning.
The zoning will tell you whether any ADU is permitted at your location, and if so which type. If you are in residential zones R, R-1 9000, or R-1 6000, then you are permitted to build an attached ADU. That could be an addition on the back or side of the home, a finished basement, or a finished attic living quarters. The ADU must be attached to the main home – it cannot be a separate building in these zonings.
Those in the following zonings can build a detached ADU: A, R-2, R-4, R-5, SU, OR, OC, and C-5. Please reference the .pdf documents below to check the minimum lot size required to add an ADU. The minimum lot size is different in each zoning. For example, if the property is zoned R-1 9000, the lot must be at least 9000sqft in order to potentially qualify to add an ADU. On the other hand, an R-2 or R-4 lot needs to have only 5000sqft minimum size to be a candidate for adding an ADU.
Then, review additional requirements
After checking whether the property’s zoning and lot size can accommodate construction of an ADU, then confirm if the property meets the other requirements. Based on whether you’re building an attached or detached ADU, different additional requirements are in place. Check the documents below for the requirements pertaining to: building height, setbacks, ADU size, parking, and more. There are restrictions requiring owner occupancy and prohibiting subdividing. There are also maximum lot coverage allowances to confirm directly with the City.Integrated ADU - public-facing handout
Detached ADU - public-facing handout