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Zoning Law Changes Allow for Backyard Cottages; Some House Parents or Grown Children

Posted Nov 16, 2012 6:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Real estate listings have long touted in-law apartments for aging parents, but there’s a new option available in many cities.

Zoning law changes are paving the way for backyard cottages that can house parents or grown children, the Associated Press reports. The dwellings are being built for other purposes as well, sometimes for rental income and sometimes for offices or studios.

Seattle changed its zoning laws in 2009 to allow “accessory dwelling units” on lots that meet minimum size requirements. Portland, Ore., changed its zoning laws a year later to also allow the cottages. In many states, no permit is needed if there is no kitchen or bathroom in the unit.

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