As Plano’s population and neighborhoods continue to change, it is important to explore strategies that promote neighborhood reinvestment and account for housing options that address the community's housing needs. One potential option currently being explored by the City of Plano Planning Department is the allowance of Backyard Cottages.
What is a Backyard Cottage?
Backyard Cottages are permanent, detached, second dwelling units located on an existing single-family lot. These units are also commonly referred to as accessory dwelling units, in-law suites, or second units.
Throughout the United States, demand for this housing option has increased. Many communities in Texas have recently adopted or are exploring regulations that would permit this housing option. In Plano, this housing style is currently only permitted in the Estate Development zoning district, a zoning designation which includes only 141 properties.
What are the potential benefits of Backyard Cottages?
Benefits of Backyard Cottages include:
- Additional housing options for seniors, dependent adults, and others;
- Opportunity for additional living space while limiting the impact on the existing home; and
- Accommodating flexibility for a homeowner’s changing housing needs.
How could Backyard Cottages be regulated in Plano?
If Backyard Cottages were to be more broadly permitted in Plano, design standards would be needed to ensure compatibility with the character, function, and capacity of existing neighborhoods. Potential design criteria would need to address:
- Lot Layout;
- Cottage Height and Size;
- Construction Quality;
- Consistency of Design with the Main House; and
- Parking Required on the Lot.
Where could Backyard Cottages be built in the future?
If Plano adopted new standards, more homeowners could have the opportunity to accommodate a Backyard Cottage on their property. Based on prevailing lot and home design trends in Plano, it is likely that only 10-15% of Plano's existing single-family detached housing stock could meet typical design criteria for Backyard Cottages. Additional constraints for the accommodation of Backyard Cottages in Plano include HOA restrictions and construction costs.
Homeowners with small to moderately sized homes on larger, efficiently designed lots would be most likely to meet typical Backyard Cottage design criteria.
How can I follow and participate in the public review process?
Planning Department staff will conduct a work session with the Planning and Zoning Commission at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 Opens a New Window. in the Senator Florence Shapiro Council Chambers at 1520 K Ave, Plano, TX 75074. This meeting can also be viewed online Opens a New Window. , via Facebook Live, and on the Plano Television Network. If the Commission elects to proceed with updates to Backyard Cottage regulations, a public hearing will be held during a future meeting.
To learn more about the consideration of Backyard Cottages in Plano, review the Informational Video Opens a New Window. , Flyer Opens a New Window. , and past P & Z Presentation Opens a New Window. at the links above.