April 28, 2022 | by Ted Craft
The Planning and Zoning Commission is seeking public comment on Monday, May 2, regarding new regulations that would allow detached apartments, otherwise known as secondary suites, or ADUs.
The hearing takes place at 7:15 p.m. on Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/885867784463.
Access code: 538927
Webinar ID: 858 6778 4463
By phone: (646) 558-8656.
If approved as written, (a link to the project appears below), the bylaw would authorize one apartment, and only one, on two acres of residential land or one that predates the zoning bylaw and is therefore no compliant.
The apartment can be inside the main house or detached from it. In either case, its size would be limited to 900 square feet or 30 percent of the floor area of the main dwelling.
This maximum is higher than the existing limit of 800 square feet or 25% of floor area, which only applies to interior apartments, as new single-family dwellings are currently not permitted at all.
The regulations specify that a detached apartment can only contain one bedroom, have only one floor, be shorter than the main structure and cannot exceed 25 feet.
Units built above an existing structure are limited to heights of 25 feet for the apartment and 35 feet for the entire structure. During their discussions, the P&Z commissioners noted that the firefighters’ ladders only extend 35 feet.
On several occasions, the Commissioners considered allowing larger apartments, but ultimately agreed (mostly) to the more conservative maximum of 900 square feet / 30%, mainly out of concern that little was known about the impact that ADUs might have on school population or demand for services. . They felt that in this case they could always cut the board longer, possibly leaving more space at some point in the future.
Detached units should still meet construction requirements, regulations specify requirements for exits and prohibit additional curb cuts.
The property should be owner-occupied in either the principal dwelling or the secondary suite. Short-term rentals – those of less than 90 days – would not be permitted.
The draft regulations, including a markup of previous drafts and the existing regulations, can be found in the P&Z section from the city’s website. They are also available at the P&Z office in the town hall annex and at the town hall secretariat.