Many folks in our neighborhood west of the Durango Public Library are renting ADUs. In Wyoming, where they’re a bit behind with naming, some people call them Accelerated Depreciation Units. But they’re usually single-wides with pickup trucks. My, how times do change. What else could you name an ADU? – Marilyn and Rich
“ADU” is a sterile and institutional-sounding term for “Accessory Dwelling Unit.”
Which brings up an interesting question.
Does anyone refer to their residence as a dwelling unit?
You never see a needlepoint “Unit Sweet Unit” displayed in anyone’s living room.
Officially, ADU has become the legal definition of a certain type of housing. So it’s here to stay.
ADU is an awkward acronym. And that’s OK. Not a BFD. YOLO.
It reminds Action Line of another clunky government alphabet-soup term that involved living arrangements.
That word is POSSLQ, pronounced as “PAW-sell-kyew.”
In the groovy 1970s, U.S. Census demographers wanted to gauge the growing number of unmarried people living together.
So they came up with POSSLQ, which stands for Person of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters, to measure “cohabitating,” itself not much of an endearing term.
Today, normal people say “partner” and move on, leaving out the gender part.
In any case, here are some much better acronyms for local Accessory Dwelling Units.
For formerly illegal and particularly sketchy ADUs in the old part of town, we could use the term DUMP, which stands for Downright Unpleasant Misbegotten Pied-à-terre.
Local Realtors love “cozy” as a description.
It’s almost as overused as “La Plata views” or “nestled in the pines.”
However, we all know “cozy” is a broker’s euphemism for cramped quarters.
Because tiny ADUs haven’t created affordable housing but do increase neighborhood density, COZY can mean Completely Overpriced with Zero Yard.
ADUs were touted as a way to reduce one’s carbon footprint, so why not HOVEL, or Hopelessly Over Valued Eco-Loft.
Likewise, you could call them a DIVE, which stands for Dang It’s Very Expensive.
For whiny hipsters who insist their roosts be within stumbling distance of bars and restaurants, living in a DIVE could mean Downtown Inclusive Vicinity Entitlement.
Anyone paying rent can refer to ADUs as GOUGE, or Grungy Old Uninhabitable Garage Enclave.
But not all ADUs are conversions. More than two dozen new units have been permitted constructed in the city limits since 2014.
New ADUs in Durango must be 550 square feet or less, a CLUELESS standard, which stands for City Leaders Utterly Enabling Landlords to Establish Small Sheds.
Still, an ADU might not put the hell in shelter.
It might just be a nice little SHANTY, or Some Housing Ain’t Necessarily That Yucky.
In the meantime, the initials ADU can mean a host of other things not pertaining to residential status.
In the Middle East, you might see an ADU sweatshirt – for Abu Dhabi University.
Farther inland, ADU is the code for Ardabil Airport in northwest Iran.
Closer to home, chemists know ADU as the radioactive substance ammonium diuranate, produced in the making of uranium-ore “yellowcake.”
Coincidently, the Durango smelter made yellowcake during WWII for the world’s first atomic bombs.
In the 1980s, crews decontaminated the Smelter Mountain site. Today, it’s Durango’s off-leash area.
Thus, ADU can also mean Adapted for Dog Usage.
No wonder the Dog Park gets glowing reviews.
Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you see the growing local urban deer herd as an ADU, or Additional Domesticated Ungulates.