Kreklau: ADUs could be a game changer for Wadena County's housing shortfalls
Murlyn Kreklau is a Wadena County Commissioner from District 4
Lack of housing, substandard housing, the highest real estate taxes, household income under $45,000, and a declining rural population are all fact in much of Wadena County. I am on several housing related committees and know options are few and most involve government funding. I am aware of and have been learning more about an option that has been growing across the country and in Minnesota. Already several counties and cities in Minnesota have approved ordinances. They are called ADU ( Accessory Dwelling Units) ordinances. They do not require or permit land splits. They protect productive land and limit sprawl.
Our rural areas need students on bus routes, folks in church pews. and people involved in local communities. Auxiliary Units are built and owned by the current land owners, who build a separate smaller home, in close proximity to the main dwelling. It can be for grandparents, adult children or relatives, friends or at some point it could be a rental to provide needed income. Most people I know want to stay in their communities, go to their same church or maybe have family close while maintaining an independent living style.
These are nice efficient homes that add real value and tax capacity for all local governments. And because there is no land to be purchased they can be built for a fraction of other housing options. If codes are met, they can share driveways, electrical service costs, a well and in some cases even a septic system. There are many benefits, and after a closer look few negatives.
I think allowing an ADU ordinance can be a game changer for rural Wadena County. And has the potential to add needed housing, tax capacity and stronger communities. This is one option to change the direction of Wadena County.