Important Update:
Tempe passed new rules for bike and scooter riders, find out what you need to know here.

Sustainable Tempe News

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

Tempe to discuss making it easier to add 'she sheds' and small homes to properties

Post Date:12/17/2018 10:30 AM
To preserve the character of Tempe’s older neighborhoods and to provide people with more housing options, the City of Tempe is considering changes within the Zoning and Development Code, making it easier to add a small dwelling unit to qualifying properties. 

These changes would make it easier for people living in single family homes to add one small building called an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU,) if they have a property zoned for multi-family (multiple dwellings on a lot,) for properties zoned R-2, R-3R, R-3, R-4 or R-5.  Regulations for guest quarters would also be amended, reducing the property size required to allow a guest quarters from 15,000 sq ft to a 10,000 sq ft. minimum lot.

Many of Tempe’s houses are older and in keeping with the style of the time when they were built, are smaller homes on larger lots. Today, people often want larger living spaces. These additional buildings can become home offices, ‘she sheds’ or affordable long-term rentals. They are frequently used for aging parents and adult children returning home.

Since ADUs are located on property zoned for multi-family dwelling and only one building of less than 800 sq ft would be allowed, these changes could discourage razing the existing home in favor of apartment complexes. This could help safeguard the character of a neighborhood. 

The ADU would be allowed up to 800 sq ft livable area and have no more than two bedrooms. These buildings must still comply with zoning setbacks and height requirements.

A public meeting to discuss these proposed changes will take place at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 15 at Westside Multi-Generational Center, 715 W. Fifth St. Those who cannot go to the meeting may also comment on Tempe Forum. 

These ideas started as within the City Manager’s Humble Homes/Tiny Homes Working Group as well as the Incentives to Limit R-3 Development City Council Work Study Session last year. 

Proposed ordinance changes would go to a future February Development Review Commission hearing, then to Tempe City Council in March. 

For additional information about ADUs or guest quarters, please contact Deputy Community Development Planning Director Ryan Levesque at

Return to full list >>