What is the ADU permit and design process in the City of Chicago?

Additional Dwelling Units or ADUs offer property owners a way to create new in-law apartments and/or income sources. Where to begin?

1. Are you in one of the five ADU pilot areas?

North Side including Andersonville, Edgewater and Lakeview
Northwest Side including Logan Square and Wicker Park
West Side including Garfield Park and Lawndale
South Side including Chatham and Chicago Lawn
East Side and Hegewisch

2. For a basement or an attic ADU, your structure needs to be at least 20 years old.

3. You need to be located in an RM, RS or an RT zoning district. Neither RS-1 (single family zoning), nor commercial zoning qualifies. You can check the zoning map City of Chicago Zoning Map. The #zoningmap is a remarkable accomplishment and is a great resource. Worth a look if you have never seen it. #chicagozoning #chicagobuildingcode

4. ADUs must be constructed on properties that have existing, legal residential units. Coach houses, which are new units created in a detached building in the backyard, are distinct from conversion units, which are new units constructed in an existing principal residential building that is at least 20 years old, typically in attic or basement space.The number of ADUs allowed depends on the number of existing legal units on a property.

For properties with 1 to 4 units, the property owner can add one coach house unit to any property, or one conversion unit to properties that are at least 20 years old.

For properties with 5 or more units, coach houses are not permitted, but the property owner can create up to 33 percent more units as conversion units #@properties #compass

5. For properties with two or more conversion units, every other unit must be legally restricted affordable at 60 percent Area Median Income (AMI) for 30 years after its construction. Properties with two or three conversion units must have one affordable unit, properties with four or five conversion units must have two affordable units, and so on.

6. No additional parking is required for newly created ADUs

No existing on-site parking can be removed to create ADUs without administrative adjustments or other zoning relief

No short-term leases or vacation rentals, such as Airbnb, are permitted in ADUs

Coach houses may cover no more than 60 percent of a property’s required rear setback and may contain no more than 700 square feet of living space

No elements of a coach house can exceed 22 feet in overall height above grade

ADUs are exempt from minimum lot area per unit rules

In the North and Northwest zones, vacant lots can have coach houses constructed before a principal residence, but this is not permitted elsewhere

In the West, South and Southeast zones, buildings with one to three units must be owner-occupied in order to add a conversion unit

In the West, South and Southeast zones, buildings must be owner-occupied in order to add a coach house

In the West, South and Southeast zones, only two ADU permits will be issued per block per year

7. #ADU applications must be accompanied by  plans created and stamped by a licensed architect. Contact us for more details!