Planning Board Reviews Draft of Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Zoning Bylaw

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By Ben Oleksinski

The Bedford Planning Board reviewed the fourth draft of the ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) Zoning Bylaw amendments at their July 9 meeting, approving the changes made while also considering other issues such as parking spaces.

Moving on from editorial revisions, the Planning Board discussed the primary issue — size. The draft bill proposes 900 square foot ADUs or additional size restrictions, targeting somewhere between 800 square feet and 1200 square feet in size.

As defined by Governor Baker’s Housing Choice Initiative bill, an ADU is a self-contained housing unit that “(i) maintains a separate entrance, either directly from the outside or through an entry hall or corridor shared with the principal dwelling sufficient to meet the requirements of the state building code for safe egress; (ii) is not larger in floor area than 1/2 the floor area of the principal dwelling or 900 square feet, whichever is smaller; and (iii) is subject to such additional restrictions as may be imposed by a municipality, including but not limited to additional size restrictions, owner-occupancy requirements, and restrictions or prohibitions on short-term rental of accessory dwelling units.”

The Planning Board will continue to collect data on the sizes and heights of existing ADUs.

Parking was an easier issue to solve. The draft proposes minimum parking requirements for an ADU at one space per bedroom; a number reached as a compromise based on the comments and opinions expressed at public hearings.

The bylaw is still several steps from finalization, and further updates will be made as the Planning Board gathers new information.