The Greensboro Planning Department is holding two virtual open houses on proposed changes to the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) ordinance.

ADUs are often called “granny flats,” but include backyard bungalows, garage or basement apartments and other dwelling units that are in addition to the principal house on a residential lot.

The proposed ordinance changes are designed to make it less complicated to build a granny flat.

The Greensboro City Council often discusses the housing shortage in Greensboro, and because increasing the number of ADUs would be spread across the city, it is thought that the housing opportunities in Greensboro could be increased significantly without the disruption of a large residential development by allowing more ADUs.

The virtual public hearings will be held Monday, Jan. 22 at 5:30 p.m. and Wednesday, Jan. 24 at 11 a.m. To register to attend one of these Zoom meetings, people should contact Chris Andrews at or call 336-373-2918.

People may also visit to learn more about the proposed changes to the ADU ordinance.

Those changes include not requiring the owner to occupy the primary or the accessory dwelling, which means that owners of rental property could add an accessory dwelling to a single-family residential lot.

The maximum size of the proposed ADU has also been increased from a maximum of 30 percent of the square footage of the primary dwelling to a maximum of 50 percent of the primary dwelling.

The requirement that the ADU “must retain a single family appearance from the street” has been removed. However, the proposed new ordinance does require that the accessory dwelling have a permanent foundation and not be a manufactured or moveable structure.

The proposed ordinance also removes the requirement of providing additional off-street parking for an ADU.

Only one ADU is allowed per lot and the ADU may not be sold separately from the primary dwelling.