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Backdoor Revolution: Accessory Dwelling Units

Speaker Kol Peterson, a leading voice on accessory dwelling unit (ADU) development, will discuss how this unique form of grassroots housing is typically developed by amateur homeowner developers rather than professional developers, which presents special challenges and opportunities. Kol will discuss the full ADU development process, covering costs, financing, design, the development process, zoning barriers, and regulatory loopholes. An open forum will follow to discuss specific applications to DC building and zoning codes, focusing on adopted language promoting ADUs and current challenges of development whether it be a basement apartment or accessory building. Participants will walk away with a greater understanding of ADU development in the Washington, DC area.

Presenter Name: Kol Peterson

Presenter Bio:

Kol Peterson is an ADU expert based in Portland, Oregon, who has helped catalyze the exponential growth of ADUs in Portland over the last decade through ADU advocacy, education, consulting, policy work, and entrepreneurship. He is the author of Backdoor Revolution-The Definitive Guide to ADU Development. He has a masters degree in environmental planning from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Prior to his ADU work, Kol worked in the federal government for ten years in Washington, DC and Portland, Oregon.


After attending this course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the ADU design, permitting, and building process (attached, detached, and garage conversion)

  • Learn what is involved in the process of getting approved to build an ADU

  • Gain access to resources to help your clients plan for their ADU

  • Explain ADU-specific techniques & network with other brokers about this specialized topic