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GA Blog: Accessory Dwellings

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8.16.19 Salem Talks Affordability with Accessory Dwelling Units

Last night, the Salem City Council in conjunction with the Planning Board held their second public hearing on the topic of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).

The main topic of the night was affordability and specifically if an affordability restriction should be added to the ordinance.  On the subject Mayor Driscoll remarked: “It’s going to be tough for us to put an affordability requirement on an ADU” adding further “the affordability restriction would frankly be difficult for the city to enforce” and the ADUs “don’t really lend themselves to super high rents.”  Public voices echoed these feelings as comments favoring an affordability restriction were in the minority opposed to the units being an avenue to create affordable housing in and of themselves.

Discussion also centered around the cost to create such a unit.  Residents with experience discussed how much it had cost them as well as our own David Friedberg who noted the availability of loans and the ability to generate wealth through equity because of the improvement in the property.

Christine Madore of Ward 2 said that by her count the public sentiment for the ordinance between the two meetings had been overwhelming positive at 77% speaking in favor.

The ordinance will now head to the Planning Board for their review.

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8.15.19 Salem Continues Public Hearings On Accessory Dwelling Units

Tonight, Salem continues public hearings on the topic of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).  The proposal, being heard in public for a second time, would expand the current ordinance to no longer require a special permit (if compliant), no longer be restricted by residential zone, no longer have tenant restrictions, prohibit short-term rentals, and require owner occupancy for a minimum of 2 years.

Allowing ADUs by right (as in not requiring a special permit) has been a growing trend within Massachusetts, including Rockport who has adopted it.  ADUs provide units that can be integrated into existing single family neighborhoods to provide low priced housing alternatives that have little or no negative impact on the character of the neighborhood.

The meeting is set to begin at 7:00pm in City Council Chambers at City Hall, 93 Washington Street 2nd Floor in Salem.

Further updates will be reported as discussions progress.

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6.25.19 Salem Considers Accessory Dwelling Zoning Amendments

The City of Salem has been working to create policies that will facilitate more housing options in Salem.

Mayor Driscoll will be discussing a zoning change that could provide a surge of rental housing across the city during her State of the City address on Monday.

City planners recently drafted a new set of proposed rules governing "accessory dwelling units", otherwise known as in-law apartments, in all residentially zoned parts of the city. These rules would remove many restrictions on the apartments, essentially allowing them to be rented out like any other apartment.

The rules were submitted to the City Council on June 13, and they'll be discussed by Mayor Kim Driscoll during her speech Monday at the Workbar, 120 Washington St., at 7 p.m. Driscoll is also planning to address transportation issues, education and ways to combat the ongoing impacts caused by climate change.

In-law apartments are already allowed in single-family zones around Salem, but they come with some stiff restrictions. First, they can only be lived in by a family member of the property owner or a caregiver and they must be removed when the "tenant" leaves or the home is sold. They're also currently prohibited in all other residential zones.

Under the newly proposed rules, in-law apartments could be created without zoning board approval (by right, in other words) in any residential zone, if they met certain parameters. That includes a maximum of 800 square feet in size, doesn't cause a net loss of trees on the property and provides adequate parking on-site.

The Salem City Council Joint Public Hearing with the Planning Board relative to amending two Zoning Ordinances regarding Accessory Living Areas will be held on July 8, 2019

Salem News Coverage of the Salem's State of the City Address

 

Information on Public Hearing

 

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