Accessory Dwelling Units

Issued To 

Those wishing to build an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) -- a second, smaller, full living space on the same property as a single-family home. Known by many names (granny pods, flats, in-law apartments, backyard cottages, secondary housing units, etc.), ADUs include attached apartments and detached tiny homes.

Icon of two pieces of paperApplication 

  • Homeowners must complete the proper Residential Building Permit applications before building an ADU
  • Homeowners that will rent out their ADUs must comply with Rental Licensing requirements.
    A rental license is not required if renting to a “qualifying relative” (Parent, stepparent, child, stepchild, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew)
  • Homeowners that will rent out their ADU as a short-term vacation rental (AirBnB, VRBO, etc.) must complete the Short-Term Vacation Rental Permit applications


Permits must be obtained before every project

Additional Requirements

Lot Size/Restrictions

  • Allowed only on residential property with a minimum 10,000-square-foot lot
  • 10,000 – 43,559 square-foot lot = Attached Only
  • 1 acre or more lot = Attached or Detached
  • Only one ADU is permitted on any lot, and ADUs must meet all setback requirements

Structure Size/Construction

Both attached and detached ADUs must:

  • be built and maintained with a consistent look/style of the primary home
  • be constructed on a permanent foundation with no wheels
  • contain no more than two bedrooms
  • be between 300 and 960 square feet
  • not exceed more than 33 percent of the primary home’s square footage

Other Structure Requirements

  • Garage Conversion: A garage cannot be converted into an ADU unless a new 440-square-foot (or larger) garage is built without the need for a variance
  • Entry Door: If the exterior door for the ADU is on the same wall as the primary residence front door, the doors must be at least 20 feet apart


Both attached and detached ADUs must be connected to and served by the same municipal water, sanitary sewer, gas and electric utility, private well and/or septic system as the primary home. Temporary water, sewer and electrical connections are not allowed.


Properties that contain an ADU must provide one additional off-street parking space (in addition to the two spaces required for the primary home). An additional garage may be constructed if it complies with all state and City regulations.


All dwellings must be built and maintained to comply with all City Codes, and residents must adhere to the following:

  • Property owner must live in either the primary residence or ADU as their permanent home a minimum of 185 days each year
  • An ADU cannot be subdivided or sold separately from the primary home


  • Residential Building Permit fees
  • Rental Licensing fees (if applicable)
  • Park Dedication fees are required when adding an ADU. These, and any additional utility connection fees will be collected if and when a building permit is issued for renovations


City Code 10-7-52


Diagram showing accessory dwelling unit example on a less than one-acre lot
Diagram showing accessory dwelling unit example on a one-acre lot

Questions? Contact 

Planning Division
100 Civic Center Parkway, Burnsville, Minn. 55337