City of Columbia Considers Alternate Housing Options

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COLUMBIA - Thursday the Planning and Zoning Commission discussed adding alternate housing options for the city, known as accessory dwelling units.

"One of the potential benefits is providing additional housing options, or it may be more affordable, it may be more convenient for a small family or a single person to live in one of these structures," said Steve McIntyre, City of Columbia planner.

Commissioners said the units are comparable to duplexes, or garages could be converted into the dwelling units.

"The council has asked the Planning and Zoning Commission and its support staff to look at preparing an ordinance amendment to the zoning regulations, which would include accessory dwelling units as an option," said McIntyre.  "Currently there is not a comparable housing option available and we would basically have to design a code or an ordinance to accommodate that."

McIntyre said one concern of the accessory dwelling units is that banks are not familiar with this type of housing and therefore may be less likely to lend money to finance the units.