Council to Introduce Bill Amending Accessory Apartment Regulations

The County Council today will introduce a bill to amend the county code regulating accessory apartments.

Bill 22-19 Accessory Dwelling Units – Licensing – Requirements – Amendments would, according to a press release:

  • Replace the phrase “accessory apartment” with “accessory dwelling unit”
  • Amend the standards for minimum ceiling heights for basements or cellars used for an ADU
  • Amend the ADU licensing procedures concerning ownership and common ownership associations
  • Require information and notice concerning common ownership communities in the applicant and review of an ADU license, and
  • Require reporting by the county executive’s office of ADU problems and planned solutions.

The bill is intended to conform the County Code with changes made by Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 19-01, Accessory Residential Uses – Accessory Apartments, and address issues surrounding ADUs that could not be addressed in a zoning change.

ZTA 19-01 was introduced in January by lead sponsor Councilmember Hans Riemer (D-At Large) to provide property owners with greater flexibility to add an ADU, which is defined as a separate dwelling unit that is on the same lot as a single dwelling unit with its own entrance, full kitchen, and bathroom.

ZTA 19-01 would, among other things, remove the prohibition on detached ADUs in small-lot, single-family zones, and remove the current prohibition on ADUs in basements. One of the primary goals of the change to is help increase the county’s supply of affordable housing.

The Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee has recommended approval with amendments, and the ZTA is still under review by the council.

In June, County Executive Marc Elrich sent a memo to the council outlining his concerns with ZTA 19-10 and suggested improvements, asking, “that the County adopts measures that assure a clear, well-regulated program.”

Councilmembers Riemer, Will Jawando (D-At Large) Andrew Friedson (D-District 1), and Council President Nancy Navarro (D-District 4) are the lead sponsors of Bill 22-19.

A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 10.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons released by Photos public domain

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