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Traverse City Commission holds public meeting to go over proposed zoning amendments

Traverse City Commission holds public meeting to go over proposed zoning amendments

The community made their voices heard on a proposed set of zoning amendments at Monday night’s Traverse City Commission meeting.

The amendments would allow for a greater percentage of accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, within city limits. Also known as “Granny Flats,” ADUs are small apartments built into and around existing homes.

The planning commission recommended the following:

  • Allowing up to four living spaces per property in the R2 District, but only two separate buildings
  • Allowing duplexes to be built in the R1A District without special permission
  • Making cluster housing easier to build, and built at a greater density, reducing the acreage requirement from five to one
  • Removing requirements for homeowners to live in the home with a renter or other person living in an ADU

In a prior study session on the topic in June, some city commissioners brought up potential issues with the plan. This included the possibility that it would incentivize an investment driving housing takeover.

Many who spoke during the public comment on Monday echoed similar concerns, but some defended the plan as they say it has worked in other places.

“I understand their apprehensions and concerns and a desire to maintain owner occupancy of ADUs. However, studies and community implementation in other parts of the country have shown that owner occupancy requirements could have the effect of blocking the very people you hope to serve with zoning ordinance amendments,” said Connor Miller, the government affairs director at Aspire North Realtors.

“This solution will only allow the select individuals that can afford the high market prices. this solution does not create more homeownership, only rentals. the solution assumes that teachers and nurses are looking to bring their families and move into an ADU over someone’s garage,” said Mary Mills, who lives in Traverse City.


Monday’s meeting was another study session, meaning no decision can be made just yet.

The city commission will decide on whether to adopt the changes sometime in the future.

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