Only one house per lot Guest house denied by council

By Megan Wehring

DRIPPING SPRINGS — Is a 2,000 square-foot addition an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)? The Dripping Springs City Council decided ‘no’ at its meeting last Tuesday, and rejected such a request. 

On Jan. 18, the council considered a 1,600 square-foot, three bedroom ADU located at 106 Bonnie Drive with an existing 2,000 square-foot, four bedroom main house on the same one-acre lot. But with a unanimous vote, the council agreed to deny the request. 

An ADU is defined as “a secondary living space that is on-site with a primary living space and that may be contained within the space structure as the primary, or may be contained in a separate structure,” according to the Development Code. Occupants of secondary living spaces include caretakers, servants or farm workers employed by the owner/occupant, or guests of family members of the owner/occupant.

The main issue that blocked the city council from approving the proposal was size. 

“Is this truly an accessory given the size of the structure?,” Mayor Pro Tem Taline Manassian questioned. “It’s hard for me to essentially build a second house in a district where the expectation is one house on a property. That is the mental struggle I’m having with this one.”

Mayor Bill Foulds agreed and added that residents may be worried for their children’s safety after additional houses are built on lots, which is something that could cause increased traffic. 

“When you move into a subdivision and you are looking at it, there are 32 lots in this subdivision,” Foulds explained. “In your brain, you are thinking of 32 houses [and you]are going to have my kids ride up and down the streets because you know what’s there. Suddenly, we can easily increase traffic by 50% based on that and I don’t know if that’s what people expect when they purchase their property.”

Council agreed the guidelines associated with ADU’s need to be more specific, especially for cases like these, including having a limit on size. 

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Megan Navarro (Wehring) graduated from Texas State University in May 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. In June 2020, she started a summer internship at the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch through the Dow Jones News Fund and Texas Press Association. She then earned her way to a reporter position later that summer and now, she serves as the editor of the newspaper. Working for a small publication, Navarro wears multiple hats. She has various responsibilities including managing a team of reporters, making editorial decisions, overseeing social media posts, fact checking, writing her own articles and more. Navarro has a heart for storytelling and she believes that journalists are equipped to share the stories that are important to the community.

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