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Chicago will soon adopt an ADU ordinance

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is an "extra" home at a residential property. The ADU can be inside the existing building, or a new backyard home on an improved or vacant lot. The City of Chicago has a proposed ordinance that would legalize the new construction of backyard homes.

Backyard homes

Backyard homes (also called detached ADUs, coach houses, and rear houses) are separate buildings and have their own utility connections. The proposed ordinance wouldn't allow an interior ADU if the property owner elects to build a backyard home, and it would limit the size of backyard homes.

Mark Pomarico and James Young, architects at Booth Hansen, have created a "zoning worksheet" that helps property owners determine how large of a backyard home they would be allowed to build.

How to use the worksheet

Download the worksheet as a PDF. The worksheet was updated on April 7, 2021, to reflect changes made in the ordinance between when it was proposed and when it was adopted.

Find the survey you obtained when you bought your property. The survey has the lot width and lot depth dimensions that are needed to fill out the zoning worksheet.

Backyard home zoning worksheet by Booth Hansen