you're reading...

Cornelius News

Town Board tightens up accessory dwelling regulations

Photo by Jason Benavides

Jan. 19. By Dave Vieser. The Cornelius Town Board has adopted new regulations for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) in order to limit the number of such units throughout the town and better control density. An ADU is a dwelling unit on a permanent foundation containing areas for sleeping, cooking and sanitation, separate from and incidental to the principal structure.

Deputy Town Manager Wayne Herron noted that the current town land code allows the total of all accessory buildings to be up to half of the square footage of the principal building. “This can allow more density than intended which burdens our infrastructure and schools. We have also seen multiple ADUs used for short-term rentals.”

He said the purpose of the new regulations is to clearly define what an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) and to limit the number of such units.

Wayne Herron


The new regulations limit the number of ADU’s to one, not to exceed 50 percent of the total property footage, and prohibit the use of travel trailers, campers, recreational vehicles and tractor trailers.

They must be located in the rear yard, and must comply with all setback requirements. ADUs can be located within a principal structure, such as a basement apartment, or detached garage.

The new regulations may be obtained on the town website: www.cornelius.org.

What about existing ADUs?

If the unit exists today, there is no impact from these new regulations. They will only apply to new units going forward from the date of the adoption, which was Jan. 17, 2023.