Help Us Legalize
Accessory Dwelling Units
in Huntsville


Accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, have become an important tool for addressing our national housing crisis. We firmly believe that the most efficient and pragmatic solution is to build more housing at all levels of affordability.


While the rest of the nation has made substantial progress towards making it easier for property owners to build ADUs (recent wins in Minneapolis, Arlington, and Austin), our City Council has yet to act. Below we summarize a few of the benefits ADUs can bring to Huntsville. Please read and then sign our petition urging City Council to meet the moment and legalize housing that all families can afford.

The fact of the matter is that if we don’t act, Huntsville will become the next Nashville, Denver, and San Francisco. We need our City Council to step up and legalize these less expensive homes.


Please read below and
Sign Our Petition

Sign Now

Three Reasons Huntsville Needs to Legalize ADUs:

They help seniors stay out of poverty and age in place.

They create more affordable housing in Huntsville.

They make Huntsville more walkable and transit-friendly.

What Is An ADU?

ADU stands for “accessory dwelling unit.” It’s just another place to live on a single-family home lot.
These are also sometimes called “granny flats” or “carriage houses.”

A Detached ADU

An Interior ADU (Basement)

A Detached, Above-Garage ADU

A Bump-Out ADU

ADUs used to be pretty common in the US. But after World War II, federal laws discouraged dense, naturally walkable, transit-friendly, affordable housing while local laws outright banned it in most cities, including Huntsville.

Why Do We Care About ADUs?

ADUs are awesome! They pack a ton of advantages into such cute little packages!
Here are just a few things a few ADUs can do for you (click to expand):

The vast majority of older Americans prefer to stay in their homes as they age. One reason the AARP supported legalizing ADUs in Minneapolis in 2018 was that they help seniors maintain their independence age in place.

Every year, hundreds of older homeowners in Huntsville will face the death of a spouse, a new diagnosis, or a serious injury or fall.

“I tell people, as soon as you think of it, start planning for it,” Carolyn McClanahan, a certified financial planner and physician who helps clients prepare financially for retirement, told CNBC. “Make sure you understand the logistics and costs.”

To stay in their homes, older Huntsvillians may need accessibility upgrades which can cost as much as $100,000. They may also start paying for home maintenance they’d been doing themselves.

An ADU makes it possible for residents to stay put. Owners can build accessible ADUs and move their adult children or other tenants into the main house. This solves two problems, as many older people live in homes that are too large for them and many young families can’t afford housing that’s the right size for their families. They can also move a caregiver into the ADU.

ADU rental income can help cover home maintenance, taxes, repairs, and upgrades. This helps ensure our older neighbors don’t fall into poverty.

Right now, Huntsville is dominated by just two kinds of housing: Suburban sprawl and luxury apartments.

Unfortunately, neither are what Huntsvillians really need.

We desperately need more affordable and “missing middle” homes.

ADUs are more affordable than single-family homes or luxury apartments. They can cost as little as $20,000 to build, and max out at the cost of one subsidized housing unit in Huntsville, no subsidies needed.

The current ban on ADUs in Huntsville forces developers to cut down trees and pave green space out in the county. This sprawl forces residents to drive long distances every day. This destroys undeveloped land, makes transit infeasible, eliminates any chance for walkability, creates more emissions, pollutes the environment, and destroys public health. We don’t have to live this way!

What Can I Do To Help?

Sign Our Petition to Legalize ADUs

Sign Now

Voice Your Support to the City Council

Show up to the City Council Chambers of the Municipal Building on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month a little before 5:30 to sign up to testify in favor of legalizing ADUs.

Strategize With Us At Our Happy Hour

Every second Thursday Advance Huntsville meets at Green Bus Brewing after the Council meeting to drink free beers and strategize. Join us!

Who Are You?

My name is Cathy Reisenwitz and I run Advance Huntsville and Huntsville YIMBY. Huntsville is an amazing place to live. I was blessed to grow up here. We’ve done a great job creating jobs. But homes are where jobs go to sleep at night. And I am of the opinion that everyone who wants to live here should be able to find a home that fits their needs.

This is an initiative of

With additional support from

Paid for by New Democracy