It’s Gonna Be BANANAs

Iowa City is considering a zoning code change to open up more properties for “accessory apartments,” a rediscovered solution that might help our housing crisis.

The City of Iowa City explains:

Accessory apartments, or accessory dwelling units (ADUs), are small, self-contained dwelling units located on the same lot as a primary home. ADUs can be attached or detached and come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and configurations.

You’re going to hear a lot of folks oppose this with a lot of the same tired arguments we’ve heard from team NIMBY1 for years:

  • It will hurt (my) property values
  • It won’t fit the “neighborhood’s character”
  • It alone can’t solve the affordable housing crisis
  • Something something families
  • Something something corporate take over

You will almost certainly hear this from folks who — staunchly — say they support affordable housing in a vague sort of way and are definitely not opposed to change (just this change) or density (just this density).2

They have, in fact, already started.

The truth is this: building more places for people to live in necessary, but insufficient, to solve the housing crisis, and we need to find ways to do it on land folks already own in a way that reduces the power of the people living there to keep new people out.

This is one of those changes.

  1. My preferred term is BANANA, for build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything. ↩︎
  2. It might sound something like this: “We would be eager to work to come up with buildings that contribute to a healthy balance of affordable rental and owner-occupied housing without compromising the character of the neighborhood.” ↩︎