ROCKLAND – “The character of our principle residential neighborhoods would change greatly if, as you propose, you reduce minimum lot sizes, permit detached accessory dwellings, and shrink the minimum size of a dwelling unit,” said George Terrien during the Monday, Feb 12, city council meeting.
“These changes are not minor. They will affect many ingredients in our lives, ranging from community desires, tax valuations, and many things in between,” he said.
During a special meeting of City Council, 5:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 26, members of the public will join council members for a workshop addressing the Accessory Dwelling ordinance that some residents believe will create more problems than solutions.
“We may not want one in our backyard, but they will pop up all over the city,” resident Adele Grossman Faber told councilors. “Anyone who lives in a single residential unit, in any zone, will be able to build what I call, a glorified shed, and have people living in their backyards. Neighborhoods would change fast, and there is nothing we will be able to do about it.”
Mayor Valli Geiger had initially proposed the amendment as a simple wording change to an existing ordinance, permitting owners of secondary, onsite living dwellings to avoid building a deck or other connector between the two dwellings.
Because revision of the amendment, during the meeting, was considered substantive in nature by Mayor Geiger, the amendment will return to First Reading on the March agenda.
Rockland’s Accessory Dwelling Unit is currently amended to the following:
A stand-alone second Dwelling unit on a lot, including flag lots, which has a single-family dwelling not containing an Accessory Apartment. There shall be only one accessory dwelling unit permitted on a lot. The accessory dwelling unit shall not be considered an additional dwelling unit for the purposes of the minimum lot size zoning standards. An accessory dwelling unit shall not be subject to the minimum floor area standard in the zone in which it is located. The accessory dwelling unit will be approved only if the applicant has demonstrated that the proposed unit meets the following criteria:
a. The principal unit and the accessory dwelling unit shall remain under common ownership and one of the units shall be owner occupied at all times.
b. The Accessory Dwelling Unit shall follow design standards as outlined in Section 19-306 D(4) - (8).
c. An Accessory Dwelling Unit is not a Recreational Vehicle (RV) as defined in Section 19-303.10.A, a manufactured home as defined in Section 10-305.4.A.1, or an Older Mobile Home as defined in Section 19-305.4.B, of which are commonly referred to as mobile homes.
d. Off street Parking shall be provided with 2 spaces for the principal dwelling and one space for the Accessory Dwelling Unit.
e. The Accessory Dwelling Unit will include its own kitchen, bathroom, and no more than one bedroom. The floor area of the dwelling unit cannot exceed eight hundred square feet or 50% of the first-floor footprint of the principal dwelling, excluding attached garages, decks and other attached accessory structures.
f. All newly constructed accessory dwelling units shall meet the principal structure setback requirements for the zone in which the parcel is located.
g. All or part of an existing accessory structures may be converted to an accessory dwelling unit only if the existing structure either meets the required principal structure setbacks or if it meets any accessory structure setback exemptions permitted in the zone in which the parcel is located. In addition to building & energy code requirements, all other pertinent sections listed above apply to conversions of existing accessory structures.
h. The Accessory Dwelling Unit shall comply with all applicable codes and Ordinances.
A public hearing during the next regular city council meeting is set for 6 p.m., March 12.
The Monday, Feb. 26, special City Council meeting and workshop begins at 5:30 p.m.
The agenda also includes:
- License & Permits – Council Action for Rock City Cafe
- Resolve #8 Appointments – Housing Task Force
- Resolve #9 Appointment – Planning Board (Chipman)
- Workshop – Plastic Bag, Styrofoam container bans
- Workshop – Accessory Dwelling Units
See our previous article: Rockland residents view accessory building amendment as new in-fill ordinance