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GA Blog: Accessory Dwellings

Showing blogs: 16 of 12

2.28.20 Manchester Talks ADUs

At this week's Manchester Planning Board meeting a group of Manchester volunteer residents presented on by-right Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).

The group’s goal of introducing by-right ADUs is to expand entry level and downsizing housing options in the community.   The proposal would limit units to 2 bedrooms and 1,200 square feet, require a dedicated off-street parking spot, and could not be rented for less than 31 days.

Manchester does currently allow for the construction of some ADUs.  Under the current zoning bylaws, a special permit can be granted if the lot size is two times the minimum lot size, the dwelling was built prior to 1984, and at least 4 parking spots are provided.  Allowing by-right ADUs avoids the need for a special permit and would instead only require a building permit.

More meetings and public forums will be held throughout 2020 in anticipation of the proposal being on the fall Town Meeting warrant.

You can read more about the presentation and the efforts to bring by-right ADUs to Manchester here.

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2.19.20 ADU Discussion Moves to Public Hearing in Salem

On February 13th, the Salem City Council renewed discussion on by-right Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) with a new 2020 ADU Ordinance.  In 2019, a proposed ADU Ordinance failed final passage 6-5 for lack of a super majority.

The 2020 ADU Ordinance includes two new programs to create Affordable Housing. If a property owner agrees to rent their ADU as a 60% Area Median Income (AMI) Affordable Housing Unit they can receive a property tax exemption and utilize a low-interest loan program for construction.

The Salem City Council unanimously voted to have a joint public hearing on the new ordinance.  A date has not yet been scheduled at this time.

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2.13.20 Salem Returns to ADU Discussion


Tonight, the Salem City Council has on their agenda the new Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Ordinance and the 2019 ADU Ordinance failed final passage 6-5 for lack of a super majority.

The proposed ordinance would allow for the construction of an ADU by-right between 350-800 square feet with 1 dedicated off-street parking space and up to 2 bedrooms.  The property owner would also be free to choose their tenant. 

Introduced into this version of the ADU Ordinance are two new programs.  If an owner offers their ADU as a 60% Area Median Income (AMI) Affordable Housing unit they can receive a property tax exemption and utilize a low-interest loan program for construction.

There are still some restrictions: short term rentals are prohibited and at least one owner of the property must use the property as their principle residence.  There are also waivers and special permits that can be obtained to ease some requirements, like lower the parking requirement or increase the dwelling size.


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1.2.20 Housing Still the Focus for Salem in 2020

Accessory Dwellings Units (again) and Inclusionary Zoning are on Mayor Driscoll’s housing agenda for 2020.

After failing to pass the ADU ordinance in 2019 by lacking the required super majority, the Mayor hopes that the updated 2020 ordinance will be in a better position to get adopted.  Some of the benefits to homeowners discussed in 2019 should be packaged in the new 2020 ordinance, including tax exemptions and a loan fund.  The Mayor has state her goal is to have an ADU ordinance adopted in 2020.

Inclusionary Zoning will be a new proposal for consideration.  This would require that housing projects of a certain size include Affordable Housing Units.   Besides increasing the stock of Affordable Housing Units, the goal of the proposal would also be to create a central place to apply for Affordable Housing instead of having to apply to individual projects as is currently the case for residents who seek Affordable Housing in Salem.  The Inclusionary Zoning proposal is expected to arrive in early 2020.

You can read more of the Mayor’s comments on housing here.

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11.11.19 Mayor Driscoll Adresses Accessory Dwelling Units and Rent Control

Mayor Kim Driscoll appeared on Keller @ Large this weekend addressing directly two seperate housing issues: Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Rent Control.

The REALTOR® position has been in favor of ADUs by right as a commonsense way to create housing in developed neighborhoods.

You can watch video of the interview above.





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10.25.19 Salem Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance Fails 6-5


After months of public forums and review by committees, the Salem ADU ordinance has failed final passage by a vote of 6 in favor and 5 against.  The ordinance sought to expand Salem’s current zoning bylaws to allow for an easier pathway to construction of ADUs and allowing more than just relatives to be occupants.

This comes as another example of a majority vote failing the super majority requirement for passage.  Governor Baker has tried to eliminate the super majority requirement for certain zoning changes with his Housing Choice Bill but that bill has not been able to progress through committee.

Salem News has reaction and explanation from many of the city councilors here.


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