April 19, 2024

ADU Laws and Regulations in Winston-Salem - 2024

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Overview of ADU Regulations in Winston-Salem

In Winston-Salem, the term Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) refers to secondary structures situated on the same parcel as a primary residence. These units, often called granny flats or in-law suites, provide additional living space and can serve various purposes. There are specific regulations governing the creation and use of ADUs to align with community standards and planning objectives.

ADUs in Winston-Salem may be either attached or detached. They have a long history in the city's zoning ordinances, dating back to 1930. Recent updates have refreshed these regulations, aiming to improve housing availability and flexibility.

The key aspects of Winston-Salem's ADU regulations include the following:

  • Placement and Size: ADUs must comply with the established zoning requirements for property setbacks and maximum unit size.
  • Ownership: The owner of the ADU must also own the primary residence on the property.
  • Design: The design of the ADU must be consistent with the principal structure to maintain neighborhood aesthetic.
  • Utilities: Separate utility connections may be required or the ADU can share services with the main dwelling.

Winston-Salem continues to adapt its ADU regulations in light of changing housing needs and state legislative measures, such as House Bill 409. The overarching aim is to balance the creation of affordable housing while preserving community character.

Unified Development Ordinance in Winston-Salem

The Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) is a critical document in the governance of land use in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. It combines various regulations including zoning, environmental, and subdivision ordinances into a single, comprehensive guide. Policymakers designed the UDO to facilitate a clear understanding of the developmental policies and procedures.

Key Components

  • Zoning Ordinance: Establishes zoning districts and regulations.
  • Environmental Ordinance: Addresses environmental protection measures.
  • Subdivision Regulations: Provides guidelines on the subdivision of land.

These components are housed in a searchable format on the UDO ClearCode website, offering straightforward access to anyone needing detailed information about regulations affecting property development and land use within the city and county.

UDO Access

Residents and developers in Winston-Salem can navigate the UDO to uncover specifics such as the Principal Use Table, which details permissible land uses. The UDO addresses a breadth of topics from the design of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) to how one might categorize different types of residential and commercial projects.

Updates and Contacts

The UDO has seen updates since its inception, with the most recent version adopted on January 1, 2020. For queries or clarification, the Land Use Administration (LUA) section of the Planning and Development Services Department serves as a resource.

The UDO's consolidation of multiple regulations into a single document underlines Winston-Salem and Forsyth County’s commitment to simplified regulatory navigation, promoting transparency and ease of use for effective city and regional planning.

Permitting Process for ADUs in Winston-Salem

The City of Winston-Salem has outlined specific regulations for the permitting process of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). When seeking to build an ADU, homeowners must navigate a series of steps to ensure compliance with local ordinances. The process begins by accurately understanding zoning laws and the impact on lot size, setbacks, and the location of the proposed ADU.

Before any construction starts, detailed plans must be submitted for review. These plans need to illustrate how the ADU will adhere to all applicable building codes, which are essential for ensuring safety and accessibility. In Winston-Salem, the history of ADUs extends back to at least 1930, showing a long-standing engagement with this type of housing.

The process for obtaining approval and permits for construction typically involves several steps. Firstly, reviewing local zoning requirements is essential to ensure compliance. Following this, detailed construction plans must be submitted, and the necessary permits acquired. Throughout the construction phase, scheduling inspections is crucial to ensure adherence to regulations. Finally, obtaining final approval and an occupancy permit marks the completion of the process, allowing the project to proceed legally and safely.

Those proposing an ADU are encouraged to consult the local planning department. This collaboration ensures all requirements are met, minimizes the risk of delays, and simplifies the permit process. Once all documentation is gathered, the next move is to submit the application and await approval from the relevant authorities.

Local governments have certain restrictions when permitting ADUs. For instance, they cannot require owner-occupancy of the unit. It’s important to note that local regulations will dictate the type of ADU, accessibility features, and guidelines related to historic preservation, if applicable.

After acquiring permits, ongoing inspections are necessary to ensure the ADU matches the approved plans, complies with codes, and is constructed safely. Reaching the end of the process, a final inspection will pave the way for the acquisition of an occupancy permit, allowing the ADU to be legally inhabited.

Specific Building Requirements in Winston-Salem

In Winston-Salem, Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) must adhere to defined building requirements to ensure compliance with local ordinances. These requirements help maintain the integrity of neighborhoods while providing flexibility in housing options.

Size and Location

ADUs are limited to a size that is secondary to the principal dwelling. They are to be situated on the same lot and maintain a consistent aesthetic with the surrounding structures.

Construction Standards

Construction of ADUs in Winston-Salem must align with the Residential Building Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings. All building materials and methods need to conform to safety and quality standards as outlined in city regulations.

Utilities and Services

ADUs should be serviced by the necessary utilities, including water, sewer, electricity, and must have proper access to refuse services.

Code Compliance

All ADUs need to comply with the Unified Development Ordinances (UDO) of Winston-Salem, which dictate specific standards for accessory dwelling units.

Key building requirements for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in Winston-Salem include considerations regarding size, with ADUs being secondary to the main dwelling and requiring specific dimensions based on lot size. Additionally, their location must be on the same lot as the principal structure and should blend in with the neighborhood's aesthetic. Construction of ADUs must comply with the Residential Building Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings, ensuring structural integrity and safety standards. Access to public utilities and proper refuse management are also essential. Furthermore, adherence to UDO regulations, including standards and definitions, is mandatory to ensure code compliance and consistency with local ordinances.

Permitting new construction or modifications to existing buildings to accommodate ADUs must follow the stated regulations. Hence, builders and homeowners should consult with Planning and Development Services during the process to ensure full compliance.

Zoning and Text Amendments in Winston-Salem

Zoning laws in Winston-Salem are governed by the Unified Development Ordinances (UDO), a compilation of regulations that influence every aspect of building and land use in the city. Key provisions include the Zoning Ordinance, Environmental Ordinance, and the Subdivision Ordinance/Regulations, each serving to manage urban development and environmental quality.

Text amendments to the UDO occur periodically and play a critical role in responding to new development needs and community preferences. Amendments can range from minor changes in wording to substantial shifts in zoning regulations. They ensure the UDO remains current, efficient, and adaptable to change.

For instance, amending zoning regulations may involve changes to:

  • Land-use classifications
  • Building heights and densities
  • Design standards

A central repository for these amendments is accessible at the UDO ClearCode website, which details the latest text amendments and provides a searchable platform for users interested in particular aspects of the UDO.

For builders, developers, and residents, understanding the recent text amendments is essential for compliance and strategic planning. Recent zoning discussions have included Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), highlighting the city's adaptation to evolving housing needs.

Winston-Salem's commitment to up-to-date regulatory practices underscores the importance of continuous review of building regulations for a well-managed urban environment.

Design Standards and Guidelines in Winston-Salem

In Winston-Salem, Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are subject to specific design standards and guidelines that ensure they integrate well with the existing community character. Designers and builders need to adhere to these regulations to maintain a unified aesthetic and functional environment.

Size and Scale: ADUs must complement the primary dwelling in scale and design. They are typically smaller than the main residence and should not overpower it in presence or design.

Architectural Elements: The architectural design of ADUs in Winston-Salem includes the following:

  • Roofing and siding materials that match the principal structure.
  • Compatible window styles and door placements to reflect the character of the main residence.

Setback Requirements:

  • Front: ADUs must maintain the existing street alignment and contribute to the uniformity of the neighborhood.
  • Rear and Side: These are determined by zoning laws and provide adequate space between structures for privacy and safety.

Utilities and Access:

  • Separate utility connections are often required for ADUs, although shared systems may be allowed with city approval.
  • Entrances and paths should be designed to provide clear and safe access to the ADU without compromising the privacy of the primary residence.

For a detailed list of guidelines, designers should consult the Winston-Salem Infrastructure Development Standards and consider reviewing the session on ADUs in the Winston-Salem Code of Ordinances for the most current legislation. Compliance with these standards assures that every building contributes to the quality and sustainability of the housing stock within the community.

Historical Preservation and District Regulations in Winston-Salem

In Winston-Salem, Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) intersect with historical preservation concerns in areas designated as historic districts. The West End Historic Overlay Design Review Standards illustrate the city’s commitment to preserving the architectural integrity of its historic neighborhoods.

Key Points:

  • ADUs must conform to existing Historical Regulations.
  • Design standards are overseen by the Forsyth County Historic Resources Commission.
  • Any proposed structures, including ADUs, should blend with the historic character of the neighborhood.

Design Review Process

  1. Submission of plans to the Historic Resources Commission.
  2. Review of designs for conformance with historical standards.
  3. Proposals may require alteration to satisfy design requirements.

Historic districts in Winston-Salem enforce regulations to ensure new buildings and modifications reflect the area's period architecture. This includes use of materials, roof shapes, and exterior colors. Documents such as the  Historical Regulations, By-Laws & Ordinances state that any external changes to properties within these districts must receive prior approval.

Noteworthy Points:

  • Historic district boundaries impact building projects.
  • They aim to balance modern needs with preservation goals.
  • ADUs contribute to density without compromising aesthetic standards.

Winston-Salem recognizes the importance of ADUs in addressing housing needs while upholding the heritage value of historic districts. Builders and homeowners within these zones must navigate regulations cautiously, ensuring any addition, such as an ADU, harmonizes with the historical essence of the location.

Resources and Assistance in Winston-Salem

For individuals seeking guidance on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in Winston-Salem, there are several available resources. The city's own Unified Development Ordinances provide an extensive framework on land use, including regulations governing ADUs.

  • Assistance with Regulations: Individuals can refer to the details about ADU regulations from the webinar document titled "Accessory Dwelling Units - Winston-Salem" which offers a clear understanding of local stipulations. To view this resource, visit the City's ADU information page.
  • Legislative Updates: House Bill 409 is crucial for those seeking the most recent legislative information. It details the responsibilities of local governments concerning ADU regulation, important for staying compliant with state laws. Access the bill's summary for more details here.
  • Short-term Rental Considerations: For those considering ADUs as short-term rentals via platforms like Airbnb, it's essential to understand Winston-Salem's local government regulations. An overview of these can be found on Steadily's blog about short-term rental laws.

Winston-Salem also has a dedicated Land Use Administration Team for personalized assistance. They are available for questions to help navigate the specific requirements for establishing ADUs in compliance with local ordinances.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section addresses common inquiries regarding the latest updates, specific details, and zoning requirements for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in Winston-Salem.

What are the new updates to ADU regulations in Winston-Salem for this year?

For 2024, Winston-Salem has implemented new regulations for ADUs, which aim to balance economic benefits with community well-being. These updates may include changes to size limitations, design standards, and permitting processes.

Where can I find a detailed PDF of ADU regulations specific to Winston-Salem?

A comprehensive PDF detailing ADU regulations in Winston-Salem is available via the city's official document repository, providing current guidelines and specifications.

How have ADU laws in Winston-Salem changed since 2021?

Since 2021, there have been modifications to the legal framework managing ADUs in order to address issues such as density, affordability, and urban sprawl. The emphasis has been on identifying and implementing best management practices.

What are the zoning requirements for constructing an ADU in Winston-Salem?

The construction of ADUs in Winston-Salem is subject to Unified Development Ordinances (UDO), which include provisions for zoning, size, and placement on a property.

Can you explain the RS9 zoning implications for ADUs in Winston-Salem?

RS9 zoning designates a single-family residential area with the number 9 representing the minimum lot size in thousands of square feet. Within RS9 zones, ADUs must comply with specific lot size, coverage, and setback regulations.

What is the maximum allowed proximity of an ADU to the property line in Winston-Salem?

The maximum proximity of an ADU to the property line is determined by local ordinances, particularly those within the UDO amendments, which stipulate setback requirements to maintain neighborhood character and privacy.

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