Redraft vote coming on Wilton accessory apartments regulations

The Planning and Zoning Commission has called for a redraft of its update to regulations on accessory dwelling units, striking a paragraph that said accessory apartments shall not be allowed by action of the Zoning Board of Appeals.

That is a current requirement in the regulation, and the commission wants to make an application process available before the ZBA, so that a judicial process should be afforded, not restricted as is the case now.

Under the proposed revisions, the Zoning Board of Appeals would be empowered to grant variances for accessory units, something it does not do now.

“They went to the text, and considered all letters and testimony, and felt a number of changes need to be made and addressed,” said Robert Nerney, the town’s planning director, following the meeting Oct. 8 at the town hall annex.

The thought was to vote at the next meeting on the revised regulations, but leave further substantive changes like size limits for accessory apartments to a future meeting, at which time more public comment can be heard.

Questions about owner occupancy will also be answered at a future meeting with more public hearings, Nerney said.

The revised material will be reviewed and possibly voted on at the next meeting, Oct. 22.

Recent discussion, since the public hearing opened in May, has involved whether to require owner occupancy in one of the units, either the accessory or primary unit. Recent discussion has also involved the question of capping the size of accessory units.

The commission is seeking to update the regulations to clarify the legal language and provide more direction. Over the years, since they were written in the 1980s, there has been discussion about accessory unit regulations, and several of the commissioners found them to be a bit cumbersome and difficult to interpret.

The commission sees three or four of these accessory dwelling cases a year. Rental of accessory units is not restricted by blood relationship, and the regulations already allow for non-family members to rent them, but they tend to be rented by relatives like grandparents or college-age children.