Lot size is no longer an obstacle for Moscow property owners to construct an “accessory dwelling unit” on their property.

The Moscow City Council on Monday night chose to eliminate the minimum lot size requirement which will allow greater opportunities for all residential properties to have the option of developing the units.

Eight ADUs — separate units that are accessory to single-family dwellings — have been constructed in Moscow since the city council in 2015 approved an ADU ordinance allowing the units in all residential zones, said Moscow Planning Manager Mike Ray.

But many lots do not meet the minimum lot area of the zoning district they are in and city staff has received several inquiries since 2015 regarding establishing ADUs on lots with nonconforming sizes.

The amended ordinance, recommended by the Moscow Planning and Zoning Commission, removes the limited lot size eligibility from the ordinance to open ADU opportunities to the nonconforming lot owners.

Ray said most of the nonconforming lot sizes are located in traditional neighborhoods that are close to downtown and where the city is promoting infill development.

The ADUs must be no more than 600 square feet in size or 40 percent of the gross floor area of the principal dwelling, whichever is less. Occupancy of the ADUs is limited to two people and the owner must live in the ADU or in the principal dwelling on the property. One off-street parking space is required for the ADU.

As part of the ordinance change, the council also approved allowing ADUs to have separate electric and water meters.

The council, with recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Commission, also approved eliminating the covered parking requirement for single-family and two-family dwellings.

Prior to Monday’s city council approval, the code required single-family and two-family dwellings to provide two off-street parking spaces per dwelling unit — one space of which is required to be covered by a garage or carport, or located in an area of the property that could be covered in the future.

Ray said the covered parking requirement is uncommon in other jurisdictions and has presented challenges to certain Moscow development projects. He said the city is mainly concerned that off-street parking is provided and less concerned if it is covered.

As part of the ordinance change, the council also approved changing the miniature golf facility off-street parking requirement of four spaces per hole — which is the requirement for regular golf courses — to one space per hole.

Both ADU and covered parking amendments received public hearings. The same person spoke in favor of both amendments.

In other business, the city council approved a professional services agreement with Civil Science Inc. of Twin Falls, Idaho, in the amount of $637,182 for construction engineering and inspection on the A Street/Line Street federal aid project.


Garrett Cabeza can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to gcabeza@dnews.com.

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