City of Albuquerque offers free casita building plans

City of Albuquerque offers free casita building plans

The City of Albuquerque is making it even easier for homeowners to build a new casita. 

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The City of Albuquerque is making it even easier for homeowners to build a new casita. 

The city’s Planning Department recently published several building plan kits for homeowners interested in building a new guesthouse on their property. Officials say it’s an effort to increase housing options citywide. 

“We hope that casitas will benefit a wide variety of people,” said Tim Walsh with the Planning Department. “Maybe provide additional housing for relatives or friends, allowing seniors to age in place, maybe kids going to college at UNM, or anybody that’s wanting to add rental income to their property.” 

City leaders approved several changes to Albuquerque’s zoning laws in 2023 – which included allowing casitas in almost all residential zones. Previously, casitas were only allowed in specific areas of the city, mostly near historic neighborhoods. 

Walsh says the city wants to see 1,000 new casitas built by the end of 2025. He says the free building plans could help speed up the process. 

“These casita plan sets will save people time and money,” Walsh said. “These plans would normally cost thousands of dollars if they were produced by an architect or designer.” 

Rod Montoya Designs donated all of the casita building plans. 

There are four size options available – ranging between 450 square feet to 750 square feet – each with two different roof options. Each design plan includes a bedroom, living space, kitchen, and bathroom. 

“Anything that you would expect to see in an apartment, you would see in one of these casitas,” Walsh said. 

All of the design plans already comply with the city’s casita regulations; however, Walsh noted there are other restrictions homeowners will need to consider before building a new casita. 

“They cannot take up more than 25% of the side and rear yard combined, and they cannot be taller than the main house,” he said. A full list of restrictions and requirements is available on the city’s website. 

Walsh says it’s up to homeowners to decide whether to hire a contractor or build a new casita themselves. He says it’s also up to homeowners to decide how to use their new casita. 

“By giving these out for free, we hope that people everywhere will take advantage of this program,” Walsh said. 

Design plans and more information about the construction process can be found here