Planning and zoning explores options for accessory dwelling units

The planning and zoning commission is discussing changes to housing regulations that could allow landowners to build small accessory dwelling units on their properties, intended to help alleviate the community’s housing shortage.

“We get a lot of requests of people who want to build a small unit behind their house for a mother-in-law or parent,” said borough Economic Development Director Carol Rushmore. “Because of our housing crush, this is a way for people who really want to do that to improve our housing situation.”

The current code does not allow for this kind of development.

The commission began considering the approach around October, though it will take many months, revisions and public hearings before new code could be implemented. Rushmore will collaborate with the borough’s lawyers to draft an updated code, which will then be resubmitted to the commission for approval or possible edits.

The commissioners will hold a public hearing before making a recommendation to send the code updates to the borough assembly. The assembly will also hold a public hearing before the new code could be approved.

The process could take until February or April, Rushmore estimated. Community members who would like to offer their perspectives on the issue are encouraged to attend the upcoming public hearings, which the borough will publicize once the dates are set.

Right now, Rushmore explained, commissioners are having broad discussions about “the parameters for what they want to see for these structures” and “identifying at what point the use becomes commercial due to impacts on your adjacent neighbors.”

At their Dec. 13 work session, commissioners debated the number of dwelling units that a property should have before being classified as a commercial use. The general consensus was that a homeowner would be allowed to build two dwelling units on their land under the new code, but would have to register as a business with the borough if they wanted to build three.


Reader Comments(0)

Rendered 06/24/2024 06:00