Accessory Dwelling Units
ZONING AMENDMENT UPDATE
The City Council and Planning Board held a joint public hearing on Monday, July 8th at 7:00 pm in the City Council Chambers at 93 Washington Street to listen to your input regarding accessory dwelling units. There is still time to provide input as the joint public hearing was continued to August 15, 2019 at 7pm.
After the joint public hearing is closed, the Planning Board will make a recommendation to the City Council, and at a subsequent meeting the City Council will vote on whether or not to adopt updated requirements.
The City of Salem allows accessory dwelling units. However, only family members or caretakers of the owner of a home may live in an accessory unit. Updating the requirements to allow for flexibility is a top priority of the City of Salem Affordable Housing Trust Fund Board because this type of unit provides an opportunity to increase the supply of moderately priced rental units in Salem.
The Affordable Housing Trust Fund Board has spent several meetings working with staff to develop appropriate regulations for accessory units in Salem. Likewise, there have been three community meetings in which an update to the accessory dwelling unit requirements were discussed which ultimately demonstrated there is support for updating the requirements.
What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit????
An accessory dwelling unit is an independent residential living area that is on the same property as a larger, primary dwelling. Accessory dwelling units go by many names, including but not limited to: “in-law suite” “second unit” “granny flat” “basement apartment” “garage apartment.”
An accessory dwelling unit generally takes three forms:
1. Re-purposed space: e.g. above the garage or in the basement.
2. Stand-alone unit: separate from the primary home.
3. Attached: addition to the primary home.
The word “accessory” has real meaning – in that the unit is secondary to the primary home, in the same way that a garage would be of secondary importance. Accessory units cannot be sold separately, must be clearly subordinate to the primary dwelling, are limited in size, and the exterior is required blend in with the surrounding neighborhood.
Accessory Dwelling Units also create an environment where the private sector can produce affordable housing, without having to invest public dollars.
Affordable housing is created in two ways:
Accessory dwelling units rent below what typical apartments rent for.
The unit could generate rental income to help homeowners cover mortgage payments or simply make ends meet.