Backyard Cottages

Backyard Cottage 

On February 25th, 2019, Plano City Council adopted a Zoning Ordinance amendment to allow for Backyard Cottages. The regulations are in the link above and can also be found in Section 15.1800 (Backyard Cottages) of the Zoning Ordinance. 

To find your property's setback requirements, you will need to know your property's zoning district which can be found by going to the Zoning & Recent Development Activity Map. If you click on your property, a white information box will appear stating the zoning district and you can find the setback requirements for that district by selecting the link or by going to Article 9 (Residential Districts) of the Zoning Ordinance

The building permit and affidavit will be available through the Building Inspections Department. The applicant must provide to the city a covenant suitable for recording with the county. The covenant must include the occupancy requirement, notice to prospective buyers requirement, prohibition of selling the backyard cottage separately, and the requirement to remove the backyard cottage if any condition of the covenant is violated.  After city review and approval of the covenant, the applicant must record it and provide proof of recording prior to issuance of a building permit.

Backyard Cottage Background

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 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 detached 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. 

How are Backyard Cottages regulated in Plano?

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Backyard Cottages are permitted in Plano and have design standards to ensure compatibility with the character, function, and capacity of existing neighborhoods. Criteria addressed:

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

Where could Backyard Cottages be built?

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.

Where can I find out more?

To learn about the adoption process of Backyard Cottages, please see the video below and the Backyard Cottage Resources.

Contact Us

  1. Lauren Mecke

    Long Range Planner
    Phone: (972) 941-7151

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