Plan Board Urged To Place Limits On Accessory Dwellings
2018-12-06 | The Cape Cod Chronicle
Support was not unanimous, however, with several residents warning that the bylaw could increase density and override existing zoning laws.
"I think this has the potential for permanently changing the character of
With some tweaks, the accessory dwelling unit (ADU) bylaw could help alleviate the town's housing crunch, others countered.
"This is not an experiment," said resident
The draft ADU bylaw, which the planning board expects to submit to voters at the May annual town meeting, allows the creation of separate apartments in single-family homes or in separate buildings. Studies have shown that seniors want to age in place, and having the ability to lease a portion of their home could help that happen by converting existing rooms to provide rental income, Principal Planner
The dwellings must be owner-occupied on a year-round basis and units can be no more than 40 percent of the main dwelling's floor area, with an 800-square-foot cap. Units must be leased on a year-round basis and can't be rented on a monthly, weekly or daily basis; leases must be filed annually with the town. If a single-family home is on a lot that conforms to existing zoning, an ADU is allowed by right under the current draft; if a lot is non-conforming, a special permit is required. A special permit is also required for an accessory unit that is in a building separate from the main dwelling, such as over a garage. The number of special permits would be capped at 10 annually, but the draft bylaw allows an unlimited number of "by-right" ADUs.
Both those who support the ADU bylaw and opponents agreed that the number of by-right ADUs should be limited, at least initially. Sabatino said based on a 2007 study, 1,650 of the town's 6,043 parcels are conforming, and the number of by-right ADUs would be further limited by the year-round owner-occupancy restrictions; more than half of the town's housing units are occupied seasonally, she noted.
"I would hope that this one would be more successful," she said.
Language limiting ADUs to year-round owner-occupied dwellings needs to be clarified, said
Pacun said the draft bylaw is "deeply flawed" and will only create market-rate units, not "attainable" or "affordable" housing. But Oppenheim said there's a need for more housing of any type in town; many of his employees who make a "good living" and could afford market-rate units can't find them.
"There is a need for this. Everybody talks about attainable, affordable. We need supply in this town," he said.
Planning board chairman
Freeman suggested the bylaw could "double the town's population" and was a "way to override our protective zoning bylaw, effectively eliminating single-family dwelling lots." A flood of ADUs and the creation of separate dwelling units on lots could also lower property values, she said, recommending that ADUs be deed-restricted so that they cannot be separately sold. Others countered that creating an income-generating unit within a single-family home would likely raise its market value.
Allowing two separate dwelling units on one lot violates the foundation of the town's zoning, which is based on single-family homes on single lots, Pacun said. The draft bylaw is a "backdoor change to the basics of our present zoning bylaw."
"People need to know that a single-family residential neighborhood could be changed into a series of lots each with two separate families, something which I believe is totally unstated and unexpected when you read the summary and hear the description" of the ADU proposal, he said.
Others said those fears were overblown. Planning Board member
Affordable housing committee member
"I don't believe this is going to create more than one or two [units] a year," Bean said. "I would hope it would be 10 or 20, but even one or two a year is going to allow one or two families to maintain or work in
The comments from the forums will be reviewed by the planning board at its
"You've got a good proposal," Oppenheim told the planning board at Saturday's forum. "I think you should defend it" with some minor tweaks and put it before voters at the May annual town meeting. "The people who are against this, I think, are against it, period," he said.