Planners look at accessory units
In a discussion on accessory dwelling units at its meeting on March 27, the Planning & Zoning Commission debated whether or not the special permit application process should continue. The option is to handle it the same way as accessory apartments are regulated.
The commission has struggled with certain sections of the regulations due to the lack of clarity in the way they were originally written. Therefore, it is looking for ways to more objectively review applications.
As it stands now, residents may construct accessory apartments inside their principal residence without necessary review from the commission. However, if a resident wants to build a standalone structure that's detached from the main house, a special permit application is required.
"I think the majority of the commission seemed to be weighing toward keeping it as is and requiring a special permit, giving neighboring properties the right to comment," Town Planner Bob Nerney said following the meeting. "The concept being that usually if it's in a detached building, then it's perhaps more apt to be potentially more intrusive to neighboring properties."
Commissioner Chairman Joe Fiteni echoed those sentiments, and cautioned the commission to take the community into account.
"If you allow now an accessory dwelling unit, you're increasing the density of the land, on a piece of property with a new set of rules that they didn't have before," he said. "I just caution us to have some sensitivity to that."
A public hearing regarding a request to allow a cottage on the property at 50 Middlebrook Farm Road to be used as an accessory dwelling unit, scheduled to take place on Monday, was discontinued. Septic testing for the cottage has not yet been completed, so the applicants requested a continuation until April 12.