The owner of a detached garage in a one- or two-family residential district in Hudson may now convert the upstairs area of the garage into a dwelling unit.

The City Council on July 5 approved an amendment to the Municipal Code making the garage apartments possible.

Homeowners will have to jump through some hoops to gain approval for the accessory dwelling units, however, and permission will be granted only if the dwellings meet specific criteria.

According to a memo from Community Development Director Dennis Darnold to City Council members, a conditional use permit will be required to establish an accessory dwelling.

"The permit process will require a public hearing by the Plan Commission and approval by the Common Council," Darnold wrote. "The proposed regulations for accessory dwellings will limit the structure in area and require compliance with the one- and two-family dwelling code."

The conditions for approval include:

1. A dwelling unit size limit of 1,000 square feet;

2. A lot area minimum of 9,000 square feet;

3. Providing one off-street parking stall for the accessory dwelling;

4. The detached garage and accessory dwelling must be located in the side or back yard;

5. The unit must comply with the Wisconsin Dwelling Code for one- and two-family residences;

6. The owner must demonstrate that water and sanitary sewer service can be provided to the dwelling;

7. The dwelling's roof dormers can't face the adjacent property if the dwelling is closer than six feet to the property line;

8. The garage and dwelling unit can't be sold separately from the principal residence;

9. The owner must occupy either the main residence or the accessory dwelling; and

10. An affidavit must be recorded with the county register of deeds noting that primary or accessory dwelling must be occupied by the owner.

"This isn't an inexpensive alternative for housing," Darnold told the City Council. "It isn't just setting up a bed above a garage."

Council action

In other business, the City Council:

  • Accepted a bid of $24,990 from Uretek ICR for the leveling of concrete in the intersection of Second and Vine streets. A polymer material will be pumped into the ground beneath the concrete to raise the panels. The work will take place on a Sunday between now and Aug. 14.
  • Approved the purchase of a 2011 Ford Expedition from Hudson Ford for $26,099, minus $3,000 to $5,000 for the trade of an older Dodge Durango. The Expedition will be used as a St. Croix EMS paramedic vehicle.
  • Approved agreements with Bluestem Forestry Consulting and Foth Infrastructure & Environment for the development and maintenance of an urban forestry plan for the city. A grant from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will cover half of the total expense of $23,897.
  • Approved the purchase of a $58,000 aeration blower for the wastewater treatment plant. Wastewater Director Jim Schreiber said energy savings resulting from use of the new blower, plus a $14,156 grant from Focus on Energy, would provide a payback of the purchase price in 5.6 years.