Reinventing the Home: How ADUs Improve DC Housing

This conference brings together housing stakeholders to scale up the production of ADUs in the District of Columbia.


ADUs are secondary dwellings that exist on the same lot as a traditional single-family house either in the same building or as a smaller separate building on the homeowner's property. ADUs improve sustainability by creating more resource-efficient housing; improve housing affordability by adding new supply in previously inaccessible places; and reap both social and financial benefits by promoting intergenerational shared housing for homeowners and renters.

The revised 2016 DC zoning regulations permit accessory dwelling units (ADUs) as a matter of right in low density residential zones. However, zoning changes have not been enough to facilitate broad adoption of ADUs in the market.

Homeowners face a series of practical barriers to building ADUs on their property: determining appropriate design options, assessing feasibility, securing financing, navigating the permitting process, developing working relationships with architects and builders, managing the construction process, and ongoing property management.

This one-day event will bring together resources, experience, and stakeholders to address challenges limiting ADU potential in DC. The Goal: raise a new generation of housing supply to scale in the District of Columbia.


8:30 AM: Coffee + Registration

9:00 AM - 9:30 AM: What is an ADU? What is its Potential?

  • Harriet Tregoning

9:30 AM - 10:30 AM: Portland's ADU experience

  • Eli Spevak

10:30 AM - 10:40 AM: Break

10:40 AM - 11:40 AM: Barriers + Opportunities for Creating ADUs

  • Panel Discussion

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM: Moderated Group Discussion

12:30 PM - 1:15 PM: Lunch with Small-Group Discussion

1:15 PM - 2:15 PM: Concurrent Breakout Sessions

  • Permitting and Designing an ADU in Residential R Zones
  • Financing an ADU - Costs and Financial Resources
  • Zoning and Permitting for Alley Lots and Carriage Houses in the RF zones; Navigating the BZA and HPRB
  • Navigating TOPA - Helping Homeowners with Buying and Selling Homes with ADUs

2:15 PM - 3:15 PM: Concurrent Breakout Sessions

  • Permitting and Designing an ADU in Residential R zones
  • Financing an ADU - Costs and Financial Resources
  • Mutual Benefits for Older Homeowners and Renters
  • Helping Homeowners be Landlords

3:15 PM - 4:00 PM: Wrap Up Comments

  • Harriet Tregoning​

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM: Reception

Confirmed Speakers

  • Harriet Tregoning, former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); former Director, DC Office of Planning
  • Matt LeGrant, DC Zoning Administrator
  • Polly Donaldson, Director, DC Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Phillip Kash, HR&A Advisors, finance expert in housing and affordable housing
  • Michael Wiencek, Wiencek + Associates Architects + Planners
  • Brian Levy, Founder, Owner of Minim House, & microSHOWCASE
  • Kay Pierson, United Planning Organization
  • Gail Kohn, Age Friendly DC
  • Eli Spevak,
  • Meredith Moldenhauer, Attorney
  • Beth Harrison, Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia
  • Jennifer Berger, Legal Counsel for the Elderly
  • Lisa Wise, Nest Property Management