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A detached ADU is allowed to be up to 25 feet tall (approximately 2 stories); this would allow for an ADU above a garage. If an attached/internal ADU is proposed, then the underlying height maximum applies, typically 35 feet in residential and agricultural zone districts. In addition, bulk plane applies in all R-series zone districts, which further limits the building envelope.
There is a maximum size limit of 50% of the gross floor area of the primary dwelling unit, or 1,000 square feet, whichever is more restrictive. The maximum building coverage for the zone district also applies to the entire property.
As an exception to this limit, an ADU in a basement or second floor may exceed the above allowance if the first floor is the same area. For example, an ADU in a basement may be up to 1,200 square feet if the first floor is 1,200 square feet.
If an ADU is part of a detached garage, the ADU square footage is counted separately from the footprint of the garage. For example, a detached garage of 800 square feet can potentially have an 800 square foot ADU above, and the ADU is only considered to be 800 square feet, not 1,600 square feet.
No, an ADU cannot be sold separately or subdivided from the main house. This is prohibited by code and included in Section 3 of the required deed restriction.
No, only one unit may be rented out. The owner of the property must occupy either the main house or the ADU (or both), and must sign a deed restriction stating they will comply with this code requirement prior to approval of the ADU.
Yes, but the existing structure must meet zoning requirements including setbacks. An ADU can be placed above an existing garage as a second floor. Existing structures that do not meet all zoning requirements may potentially be converted into an ADU after a variance review process; variance approvals are not a guarantee, so please contact the Planner of the Day to discuss your situation.
Maybe. ADUs internal to a home are allowed by the zoning code, but it is more challenging to create an ADU in this way because of building code requirements related to separate egress, fire separation, ceiling height, and mechanical codes.
Yes, but an ADU may only be used as a "partial home" rental, which means the owner of the property must continuously reside on site. More information on STRs can be found here. An STR license is required.
No, dwelling units may not have wheels. All homes -- primary or accessory -- are required to be constructed on permanent foundations.
Yes, the City of Wheat has adopted Appendix Q of the IRC which allows for and creates specific requirements for tiny homes. A tiny home must be placed on a foundation, and can be either an ADU or primary home.
No, a new ADU is not allowed on a property with duplex or multi-unit structures. A limited exception is if an existing ADU may currently be located on the property and if the ADU is determined by the Community Development Department to be legally nonconforming, then it may remain.When voluntarily removed, however, it cannot be rebuilt.
Potentially. Wheat Ridge is not a full-service city, so you will need to contact your individual water and sanitation districts for requirements, as they may vary by district. For example, some districts may require separate sanitation taps for detached ADUs. Xcel allows, but does not require, separate meters for ADUs.
Yes. The address will be assigned as part of the staff review process. Per policy, the address of the ADU will be the main address followed by the letter B. For example, if the primary home is 1234 Merry Way, then the ADU would be 1234B Merry Way.
City staff will complete an address notification to all utility providers, including emergency services and the post office. The address of the ADU will need to be very clearly posted on the property.
If staff determines the existing ADU is legally nonconforming through the required review process, then zoning requirements do not need to be met, and the ADU can achieve legal status. Current zoning requirements do not apply to existing ADUs.
There are several reasons why. First, for context, it should be noted that prior to August 15, 2022, ADUs were not permitted by Wheat Ridge City Code. It is understood, however, that ADUs may exist in the community for one reason or another. For that reason, City Council approved a two-year grace period granting owners the right to apply to the City for approval of an ADU. For applications received PRIOR to August 15, 2024 there is increased flexibility. After August 15, 2024 there will be reduced flexibility and/or penalties.
There are two likely paths for existing ADUs and specific reasons to seek legal approval now:
Other unique scenarios will have additional flexibility during grace period between now and August 15, 2024:
That's okay! You can still have a second kitchen within a home or extra living space, it just won't get a separate address or be considered an official ADU. This is one of the extra benefits of the new ADU ordinance; there's more flexibility in how you can design your home and living space. Previously, additional living spaces could not have second kitchens. This option may be a good approach for some people and could avoid complications with utility districts.
For example, if it’s not possible to convert a basement to an ADU because of applicable building codes, then it’s still possible to have a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen in the basement for family members or roommates. The space would just be treated as additional square footage for the primary home.
Multiple ADUs on a property determined to be legal may remain pursuant to the code, but when voluntarily removed, only one ADU can remain or be rebuilt. The property owner will need to apply for legal status prior to August 15, 2024; after which time multiple ADUs will not be approvable.
No. An ADU is a permitted use in the code, and there is no public notice required. This is similar to how you are not notified if your neighbor is building an addition, new house, or detached garage.