Accessory Dwelling Units

"The County has seen a growing interest in providing Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), which could be allowed in the residential and agricultural zoning districts as a permitted accessory use or structure."

ADUs can be a living area located on the grounds or attached to a single-family home. The demand for ADUs has grown in popularity in response to changing family needs and smaller households. Examples of ADUs include living areas above garages, tiny homes, and mobile homes. As Stearns County’s demographics change (e.g., aging populations), the County should explore updates to its zoning code that continue to support ADUs. Providing this type of housing can offer the following benefits:

  • Increase housing affordability (both for homeowners and tenants).
  • Create a wider range of housing options within the county.
  • Enable seniors to stay near family as they age.
  • Allow more efficient use of existing housing stock, public infrastructure, and the embodied energy contained within existing structures.
  • Provide a mix of housing options that responds to changing family needs and smaller households.


  1. Support a mix of housing that are appropriate for each zoning district.
  2. Carefully mange ADU’s in shoreland areas to ensure density is managed and shoreland aesthetics are not altered.

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