Learning About Accessory Dwelling Units

Do you have an interest in renting out a living space on your property?  With the need for more affordable housing options locally and statewide, Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) have become a recent topic of interest to Greenwich and Round Hill residents. On Tuesday evening April 2, Sheri Koones, author of ADU, The Perfect Housing Solution,spoke, at  Greenwich Library, along with Fred Camillo and realtor Mark Pruner.  The session was focused on informing the audience of the definition of ADUs as well as the potential option and value they offer in today’s housing market.

The concept of ADUs recently started on the West Coast to address the shortage of affordable housing in crowded and expensive areas.  An ADU is an accessory to a main house with a resident owner.  It could be over a garage, a pool house, in a basement, or a small separate building.  It must have a kitchen, bathroom, a foundation, water, and sleeping quarters, as well as a separate entrance door to qualify as an ADU. The concept appeals to downsizing older residents, younger couples, and in-laws. According to statistics, ADUs can, on average, increase property values by 15%.

ADUs must comply with Iocal real estate regulations by applying with P & Z, but no permit or hearing is necessary.  While there are state regulation requirements, Greenwich has opted out of these restrictions and relaxed the rules on age or disability status to rent out space.  In Greenwich, the size of the unit depends on the acre size and zoning divisions.  For example, in zones smaller than a quarter acre, a stand-alone ADU must be less than 800 square feet.  In two and four-acre zones the free-standing ADU can be up to 1,200 square feet.  If one chooses to build an ADU within a present house, it can be 35% of the size of the main structure.  There is no limit on what rent can be charged. At this time there are approximately 100 ADUs in Greenwich.

The library discussion included some questions and talk regarding other details of creating ADUs such as building codes, setbacks from the road, utilities, off-street parking space, and height limitations.  This indicated there is interest within the town for exploring the ADU real estate option for homeowners. 

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