Frederick will allow residents to construct accessory dwelling units on their property beginning Oct. 18 after a vote by the city’s aldermen Thursday night.

Under the ordinance proposed by Alderman Derek Shackelford, the term accessory dwelling unit could be applied to a unit within a larger building or one that is detached from the main structure.

Shackelford, Donna Kuzemchak and Ben MacShane supported the measure, with Kelly Russell and Roger Wilson opposed.

Shackelford’s proposal will allow one dwelling of up to 800 square feet on all single-family and duplex lots in the city. Construction of internal, attached or detached units will require a building permit from the city and be limited to two stories or the height of the main residence on the property, whichever is less.

A property owner will have to live in either the ADU or the main residence on the property, and an additional parking space will usually have to be added. Leases will have to be for at least 90 days.

While an ADU on a residential property will be allowed through a building permit, one on a nonresidential lot will be considered a conditional use and be required to be integrated into the main building.

An ADU added as part of an existing building cannot be more than 35 percent of the gross floor area of the main building, and any separate entrance will have to be on the rear of the building or a side that does not face the street.

The exterior products used to build a detached unit will have to be the same as those used to build the main structure and include various design standards, unless the Planning Commission changes the rules.

Several public commenters expressed fear the ordinance will threaten the fabric of neighborhoods in the city.

MacShane said he supported the proposal as an opportunity for many families in the city, especially those with seniors or younger members such as recent college graduates. Many other cities have similar policies, he said.

“This is not a new concept. We are not actually breaking any ground here,” MacShane said.

Russell thanked Shackelford for his work on the legislation, but said she had concerns about the lack of notification and feedback that neighbors would have under the law.

Wilson said he believes ADUs can be a valuable tool in creating affordable housing. But he believes more input for community members was necessary.

Because of online meetings during the pandemic, some members of the public weren’t able to participate in the discussion as much as possible, he said.

Shackelford and Kuzemchak pushed back on that idea, arguing that the aldermen passed a comprehensive plan and other legislation during the pandemic.

Shackelford said he was “dismayed” by some of the comments he’s gotten, including beliefs that “certain people are going to move into certain neighborhoods” and impact those areas.

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Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at

(18) comments


You can't say Frederick doesn't have a plan for taxes...Step one approve ADUs. Step two, tax all landlords. Do those increased taxes outweigh all of the potential negatives caused by the ADUs?


as if we didn't already have more than enough congestion in our schools and roads ..this is another absurdity to collect yet more taxes ...some pols never seem to have enough


Very few grannies will live in these rental units. Let’s just call them what they are - rental units. Can I have some guesses as to the average rents that will be charged by the landlords? What a great way to afford that big house by the park.


Does anybody believe that a homeowner in the better, more expensive parts of Frederick City are going to put one of these shacks on their property. It's a slum creation.


Yes if my parents were alive I’d surely build them a shack. Maybe with a porch made out of sticks so they could sit out smoking corn cob pipes.


Come on, Dick. This is not new and now is a very creative feature in architecture. Frank Wright designed smaller living spaces in his time with even furniture and built in book cases for an efficient living space. The concept of a tiny house is not a shack. it uses new building materials and devices to do more with less space. Check it out:

Greg F

Sick has to complain about something.

Greg F


Greg F

Shack? Why would you put a shack up when zoning won’t even allow you to paint a door the wrong color downtown?


You know that they are not going to make those additions to their homes and then make them affordable. They will charge more so that whomever lives there will pay enough to cover everything and the homeowner doesn't have to pay for anything.


That sounds suspiciously like capitalism.


I think that you should also be allowed to put 8 people in a Honda Civic to make gas costs more affordable.






Easy: four in front and four in the back, or two and six. Choices!

Greg F

I saw 12 get out of a Dodge pickup at Home Depot recently. 3 generations worth.


Have you ever been to Puerto Rico?


When I was in Vietnam, we saw whole families on a motorbike with luggage or groceries.

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