Accessory Building Regulations Update

Final Decision: On March 6th Town Council adopted an ordinance that allows for the construction of heated only (no plumbing) accessory buildings up to a maximum size of 250 square feet. If land owners want to build an accessory building larger than 250sf and/or have plumbing run to their accessory building they must also provide a deed restricted accessory dwelling unit within the accessory building. 

As part of the update Council also approved waiving of development permit fees and design review fees for all projects that consist of an ADU. In addition the Town will waive the sewer and water tap fees for any new ADU.   




As part of the Town of Crested Butte's affordable housing emergency, on September 7, 2021, the Town Council instituted a moratorium on accepting applications for reviewing, approving, or issuing permits for non residential heated and plumbed accessory buildings.

Prior to ending the moratorium, the Town is initiating a community outreach process consistent with the Community Compass decision-making framework to evaluate and consider changes to the regulation of accessory buildings.

The initial goal of this process is to evaluate how the Town's accessory building regulations can further promote affordable housing in Crested Butte. 



Community Compass Decision-Making Framework 


Step 1: Understand the challenge and define a goal statement. 

Visit the document library on the right to read more about the history, challenge context, and construction and develop application trends. 


Challenge Background:

Since 2010, construction of heated and plumbed accessory buildings has outpaced construction of accessory dwelling units (ADUs). As part of the Town's affordable housing emergency, on September 7, 2021, the Town Council instituted a moratorium on accepting applications for reviewing, approving, or issuing permits for non-residential heated and plumbed accessory buildings to examine if updates to the Town’s zoning code could further incentivize the construction of ADUs. 


About Accessory Buildings: 

As defined by the Town code, accessory buildings are a detached subordinate building, the use of which is incidental to that of the principal building or primary dwelling on the same building site. In each of the residential districts located within the Town, the accessory building must remain in common ownership at all times with the primary dwelling or principal building on the same building site.

There are three permitted types of accessory buildings:

Cold Accessory Building (cold garage, shed, and/or storage): Accessory buildings are non-heated, non-habitable structure. Cold accessory buildings are permitted by right in all residential zones. 

Heated & Plumbed Accessory Building (heated garage, accessory office, craft studio, gym, entertainment room) : Heated and plumbed accessory buildings have heating and/or water or a half-bathroom. These structures are for non-residential uses, and bathing, cooking, or sleeping is prohibited. Since 1999, these buildings have been permitted as a conditional use through the Board of Zoning and Architectural Review (BOZAR). There are currently 68 heated and plumbed accessory buildings in the Town. 

Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) (Garage apartment, granny flat) - An ADU is an accessory building (or portion of) for residential use. ADUs are required to be long-term rental for a minimum of six months in exchange for the Town providing a 2/3 discount on tap fees and and a waiver to the housing in lieu fee calculated by the Town's Resident Occupied Affordable Housing (ROAH) regulations. Since 1990, ADUs have been permitted as a conditional use through BOZAR. There are currently 93 deed restricted ADUs in the Town. 


Community Compass Strategic Plan Alignment:

This process relates to the Strategic Plan goals and strategies of:

2) Enable people who live and work here to thrive.

a. Pursue infill development and increased density opportunities in the Town to increase workforce housing, childcare, and local essential goods and service options which are compatible with our character.

b. Deploy programs and update policies that ensure our neighborhoods are full of neighbors.

c. Identify opportunities to promote affordability for residents and businesses to ensure community members can continue to stay in the place they’ve chosen to build a life or business in.


Initial Goal Statement:

Evaluate how the Town’s accessory building regulations can further promote affordable housing in Crested Butte.

(Your feedback will help refine the goal statement through this process.) 


Step 2: Outline a community engagement strategy.

Community meetings and opportunities for engagement are shown on the right. The community engagement strategy includes a community survey open through December, a focus group meeting with stakeholders and interested members of the community in January, and Town Council and BOZAR meetings in January.

To view survey results click here 

View the focus group meeting recordings below

Meeting 1- Thursday January 5th

Meeting 2- Friday January 6th

Additional feedback is always welcome to be sent to Town Staff at or by calling 970-349-5338. 


Step 3: Identify success measures.

What does a successful ordinance look like? 

Staff following success measures have been drafted and refined based on community feedback and direction from Town Council:


1)      Draft Success Measure 1: There are more rental housing options in-town: More ADUs are being built each year than other accessory buildings

2)      Draft Success Measure 2: The Town and development community must work together: Incentives are regularly evaluated to ensure they promote ADU construction



Step 4: Develop alternatives and filter through the success measures.

Based on the community feedback and draft success measures, each alternative is crafted as a combination of a regulatory update (that would occur via ordinance and thus end the moratorium) and an incentive package, which would occur via Town Council direction.

Alternative 1)

Regulation- Status Quo, end the moratorium with no regulatory change and continue to allow heated and plumbed accessory buildings as a conditional use.

Incentives- Continue further analysis and budget considerations on cash incentives for ADU conversion opportunities through the Good Deed program. Focus on potential incentives for new construction of increased ADU floor area ratio, front/rear setback adjustments, and parking reductions in next year’s infill study.

Alternative 2)

Regulation- Disallow heated and plumbed accessory buildings, this alternative would essentially see the moratorium regulations kept in place. Under this regulation heated and plumbed accessory buildings would not be allowed unless they include a deed restricted ADU. 

Incentives- While we wait for the results of the infill study Town would roll out the following incentives for ADU construction; create a property management assistance program to support homeowners with background checks, lease guidelines, and deposit guarantees, waive building permit and review fees, and subsidize the full cost of the tap fee. This alternative would also include the same financial incentives for ADU conversion as alternative 1. 

  • During the January 17th work session council provided direction to move forward with drafting an ordinance based on alternative 2. Direction was also given to expand the ADU deed restriction to include a local workforce requirement.
  • During the February 6h first reading of an Ordinance based on alternative 2, council pivoted their direction and direced staff to bring an altered ordinance forward for the second reading based on alternative 1
  • During the February 21st second reading no ordinance was passed, Council could not get enough votes to pass either an ordinance based off alternative 1 or 2. Another meeting will be held on March 6th. 


Step 5: Make decisions with an informed consent model. 

There are three remaining opportunities for the public to share their feedback on the alternatives:

January 31st BOZAR Meeting - 6pm - Zoom Link

February 6th Town Council Meeting - 7pm

February 21st Town Council Meeting  - 7pm

All meeting will take place in the Council chambers. Agendas with Zoom links will be posted as soon as the agendas are finalized.

We also welcome any public comment through email, please email with your comments.