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Appleton common council adds affordable housing option

Local News

APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – To grow our communities, people need an affordable place to call home.

This is a big reason why Appleton’s common council approved accessory dwelling units in the city.

ADU’s are smaller buildings attached to or on the same lots as existing ones. They can be used for everything from Tiki bars for restaurants, pop-up units that hospitals can use to treat patients to places people can actually live.

Structures must be permanent to classify as an ADU.

“We can address affordability, we can address environmental issues, we can address keeping our families close by and helping them,” says Appleton Director of Community and Economic Development Karen Harkness about the benefits of ADUs.

City alderman Brad Firkus was responsible for writing most of the resolution that is now allowing ADUs in the city. He says this is the culmination of nearly a year of research on how doing this would benefit the city.

“It’s an affordable way to get affordable housing without relying on new development at the edge of town,” says Alderman Firkus.

In Appleton, MODS has been in the business of accessory dwelling units for 15 years.

“I was really excited because it’s going to help the community drastically,” says MODS Production Manager Bobby Estabrook.

A question that was brought up during the council’s discussion on the topic was whether all the ADU’s would get used as Airbnb’s which would undermine the goal of adding affordable housing in the area.

“I don’t see it being any more of a problem than people buying existing housing stock and using those as rental properties,” says Firkus.

The resolution to allow ADUs in Appleton passed 13-1.

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