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In an effort to ease the city’s affordability crisis, Chicago’s City Hall is proposing to legalize the construction of granny flats and coach houses. According to Dennis Rodkin of Crain’s Chicago Business, the idea will lift a ban dating back to 1957, when city planners saw the dwellings contributing to overcrowding. Rodkin has more details on the story and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s five-year housing plan below.

One plank in Mayor Rahm Emanuel's five-year housing plan that will go before the Chicago City Council tomorrow suggests the city should revamp building codes and zoning rules to "create affordable housing through Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)." If the council adopts the plan, City Hall would later propose individual ordinances to open up zoning to allow them.

"This will be an opportunity to come back to a traditional (form of) affordable housing," said Steven Vance, a Chicago advocate for modern city planning practices who runs the construction permit-tracking site Chicago Cityscape.

A coach house is typically a small building behind and detached from a main house, originally a place where coachmen or other servants lived. A “granny flat” is a secondary living space in a house, usually in the basement or attic. Coach houses and granny flats were historically accepted, but they were ruled out in the mid-20th century with the advent of tight residential zoning.

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