Backyard Cottages

As Plano’s population and neighborhoods continue to change, it is important to explore strategies that promote neighborhood reinvestment and account for housing options that address the community's housing needs.  One potential option currently being explored by the City of Plano Planning Department is the allowance of Backyard Cottages.

What is a Backyard Cottage?

Backyard Cottages are permanent, detached, second dwelling units located on an existing single-family lot.  These units are also commonly referred to as accessory dwelling units, in-law suites, or second units.  

Throughout the United States, demand for this housing option has increased.  Many communities in Texas have recently adopted or are exploring regulations that would permit this housing option.  In Plano, this housing style is currently only permitted in the Estate Development zoning district, a zoning designation which includes only 141 properties.

What are the potential benefits of Backyard Cottages?

Benefits of Backyard Cottages include:

  • Additional housing options for seniors, dependent adults, and others;
  • Opportunity for additional living space while limiting the impact on the existing home; and
  • Accommodating flexibility for a homeowner’s changing housing needs.

How could Backyard Cottages be regulated in Plano?

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If Backyard Cottages were to be more broadly permitted in Plano, design standards would be needed to ensure compatibility with the character, function, and capacity of existing neighborhoods. Potential design criteria would need to address:

  • Lot Layout;
  • Cottage Height and Size;
  • Construction Quality;
  • Consistency of Design with the Main House; and
  • Parking Required on the Lot.

Where could Backyard Cottages be built in the future?

If Plano adopted new standards, more homeowners could have the opportunity to accommodate a Backyard Cottage on their property.  Based on prevailing lot and home design trends in Plano, it is likely that only 10-15% of Plano's existing single-family detached housing stock could meet typical design criteria for Backyard Cottages.  Additional constraints for the accommodation of Backyard Cottages in Plano include HOA restrictions and construction costs.

Homeowners with small to moderately sized homes on larger, efficiently designed lots would be most likely to meet typical Backyard Cottage design criteria.

How can I follow and participate in the public review process?

Planning Department staff conducted a work session with the Planning & Zoning Commission on January 22, 2019 in order to receive feedback on proposed Backyard Cottage zoning amendments.  

At the February 4, 2019 Planning & Zoning Commission meeting, the Commission held a public hearing and took action on this proposed zoning change request. To support this process, city staff presented additional refinements to the proposed Backyard Cottage design standards, providing for more rigorous architectural compatibility standards and requiring property owners to occupy at least one dwelling unit on their lot.  The Commission voted 6 - 0 to approve these proposed zoning amendments.  

A public hearing for the Plano City Council to consider these proposed zoning amendments will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, February 25, 2019 in the Senator Florence Shapiro Council Chambers at 1520 K Ave, Plano, TX 75074. This meeting can also be viewed online, via Facebook Live, and on the Plano Television Network.  We encourage those who wish to provide feedback on the proposed Backyard Cottage regulations to attend this meeting.  

To learn more about the consideration of Backyard Cottages in Plano, please review the February 4, 2019 P & Z Backyard Cottage Public Hearing, January 22, 2019 P & Z Backyard Cottage Discussion, Informational Video, Flyer, and past P & Z Presentation at the links above.

Contact Us

  1. Ken Schmidt

    Comprehensive Planning
    Lead Planner

    Lauren Mecke

    Long Range Planner
    Phone: (972) 941-7151

    City of Plano Planning Department
    1520 K Avenue
    Suite 250
    Plano, TX 75074