By Max Brunt Advocates for accessory dwelling units throughout Bellingham have won this stage of the city’s affordable housing debate. The Bellingham Planning and Development Commission voted 4-2 to recommend the City Council allow leasing of detached ADUs citywide during a work session on Thursday, Feb 1. ADUs are living spaces on a property that one can live in completely independent from the main house. An ADU has its own bathroom and kitchen, and a detached ADU can be a shed or a detached garage. The session was held to address some of the concerns that residents voiced during the last public hearing regarding ADUs on Jan. 25. If approved, the ordinance would permit landlords throughout the city to let out small, separate living spaces on their properties to non-family members. Currently only 20 ADUs are allowed in each single family zoned neighborhood and detached ADUs are not allowed in single-family zones. City planner Greg Aucutt acknowledged the population in Bellingham is reaching a point where it needs an alternative housing solution. “We’re keeping up with population growth, but we’re not really getting ahead of the curve,” Aucutt said. Commission member Lisa Anderson spoke out against a citywide provision, and instead suggested establishing a process by which individual neighborhoods could choose to permit detached ADU construction. “I wish we were sitting here right now looking at ways we could possibly create a pathway where it’s not wholesale across every single neighborhood,” Anderson said. Anderson said she felt permitting detached ADUs citywide ignores the unique constraints that particular pieces of property could have over others, which may contribute to overcrowding and unintended environmental consequences.