Coach house plan may reopen door to renters Advocates seek to end city's ban - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Coach house plan may reopen door to renters Advocates seek to end city's ban


obert Dawson used the coach house behind his Kenwood mansion to put up his in-laws. Malcolm Morris rents out the cottage in back of his Bucktown home to pay the mortgage. Though Dawson and Morris said their structures are "grandfathered" in, living in a coach house in Chicago is not legal. In 1957, city officials banned living in the buildings that once housed horses, carriages and drivers, fearing that too many people living on one lot would lower neighborhood property values.

Housing advocates, however, are lobbying to change that, saying scores of old coach houses--also known as "granny flats" and in-law apartments--are an untapped rental housing resource in Chicago's back yards. "They can be a rental opportunity for people who otherwise wouldn't be able to live in certain communities and a wonderful opportunity for income for homeowners," said MarySue Barrett, president of the Metropolitan Planning Council.

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