Accessory Dwelling Units

What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit?

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a small, additional residential structure that is located on a parcel with a primary dwelling structure. Accessory Dwelling Units can be detached from the primary structure or serve as an attached extension of the primary dwelling. 

What do Accessory Dwelling Units bring to Charlevoix?

Accessory Dwelling Units can extend greater property usage to owners in higher-density residential districts. Accessory dwelling units can provide extra residential space for growing families, enable multi-generational homes, and support those in their pursuit of private, familial caretakiADUs can also help those seeking to diversify their income sources, as accessory units can serve as long-term rentals. While property owners may find interest in economically optimizing their land, the increase of housing stock can enhance the community at large. With accessory units being smaller in size than the principal dwelling, ADU rents can be more affordable and better suited for those working in Charlevoix than renting a traditional single-family house. Increased housing options broadly help to move the market to equilibrium, better matching prospective tenets with options that fit their desired square footage and rent costs. Properties with Accessory Dwelling Units are typically valued higher than those without.

Property owners may also be permitted to use their ADUs as short-term rentals, provided they live on site (either the principal dwelling or the accessory dwelling must be occupied year-round by the property owner), follow the proper short-term rental registration procedures, and the short-term rental cap has not been hit in their residential district. To learn more about short-term rental regulations, please click here.

Where are Accessory Dwelling Units Allowed in the City of Charlevoix?

Accessory Dwelling Units are exclusively permitted in R2-Medium Density Residential Zoning Districts. Click here to view the City of Charlevoix Zoning Map.

What permits do I need to build an Accessory Dwelling Unit?

Constructing an Accessory Dwelling Unit will require all the necessary zoning and building permits required for primary dwellings. It is highly recommended that those interested in building an ADU contact the City of Charlevoix Planning and Zoning Department to learn more information or schedule a pre-application meeting if already planning construction.

From the City of Charlevoix, a Zoning Permit will be required before construction begins. Zoning Permits ensure prospective structures are built to the standards contained within the City of Charlevoix Zoning Ordinance, are harmonious in design with the surrounding neighborhood, and have uses as permitted in the respective Zoning Districts. For more information about Zoning Permits, please click here.

All dwellings must comply with State Construction Code, and hold required building permits as necessary from Charlevoix County, including Building, Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing, and more. To learn more about building permits required for construction in Charlevoix County, click here to visit their website.

Accessory Dwelling Units in the Zoning Ordinance

Please click here to view the design standards for Accessory Dwelling Units.

Please click here to view the regulations regarding usage of Accessory Dwelling Units.

Contact City Staff For More Information on Accessory Dwelling Units

Please contact Jonathan Scheel, Zoning Administrator, at 231-547-3265 or