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Thread: Secondary dwelling units

  1. #1
    Member
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    Secondary dwelling units

    Hello everyone,

    This is my first time posting on the forum but have enjoyed following the informative discussions for some time. I am looking for zoning provisions to regulate secondary dwelling units. The municipality in interested in allowing secondary dwelling units/accessory apartments and wants to include appropriate standards to ensure functionality and compatibility. I am interested to know about parking requirements, driveway widths, lot frontage, minimum lot areas. Also of importance is servicing issues; the engineering department is of the opinion that second units will place too much pressure on services (i.e. water and sewer). Based on the readings i have done servicing does not seem to be an issue. Any comments on this would be appreciated.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Welcome!
    The state of california has a ton of information in regards to 2nd units. This is there memo on 2nd units. While 2nd units do increase sewer loads, if your municipality had "impact" fees to offset the additional load that goes towards the o&m and construction of a new treatment plant, than the squawking should be done to a minimum.

    We permit 2nd units by right on all single family lots that have sewer connections. Lots that are on septic are required to have a minimum of 1 acre in size for a 2nd unit and size the septic system to accommodate it. This is a directive from the Regional Water Quality Control Board. Here is a link to our ordinance regulating everything about 2nd units.

    Good luck.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  3. #3
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Last year we worked on this issue in a tourist community and found that simplicity was best. It became a permitted use and could not exceed 30% of the primary dwelling unit, or 600 square feet (which ever is larger) and required one additional parking space on site (3 total). Beyond that, it was regulated as if it was any other structure.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Last year we worked on this issue in a tourist community and found that simplicity was best. It became a permitted use and could not exceed 30% of the primary dwelling unit, or 600 square feet (which ever is larger) and required one additional parking space on site (3 total). Beyond that, it was regulated as if it was any other structure.
    Our approach is similar. We call out whether they are allowed, and have the following definition of them: "Accessory dwelling unit” means a dwelling unit either attached to a single-family or duplex primary dwelling unit or located on the same lot, having an independent primary means of access, visually subordinate to the primary dwelling, and having a total floor area of not more than 750 square feet.

    The US Dept of Housing and Urban Development has a useful publication on these: http://www.huduser.org/portal/publications/adu.pdf

    We haven't allowed reduced parking for them, but we will be proposing that soon.

  5. #5
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    As a university town, Waterloo has had all kinds of experience with these. It's not pretty. Based on what I've seen over the years, aside from safety of the units themselves, parking is a big problem. This is especially true in areas where small lot single detached dwellings are allowed secondary suites. The small lots just don't have room for 2 cars, and a boat, and a basketball net, and a jet ski, ...and then the 3rd (and maybe 4th) cars owned by the residents in the secondary suite. Cars end up parked on front lawns, and on boulevards, and people are fighting for any available on street parking space like George Costanza. The Fire Dept then requests a ban on on-street parking because they can't get their engine down the street and it becomes a nightmare. Did I mention snow removal?

    If you have the ability to limit their location, I would recommend permitting them only on larger lots where driveways can be widened, or there is lots of available on-street parking. And you better consider an overnight on-street parking program, because that's what people will be requesting before long, because people don't like to 'shuffle' their cars on their driveways.

    As an aside, we've still got accessory apartments coming out of the woodwork from the (Premier) Bob Rea era when they were permitted as of right ...16 yrs ago!. Point here.....once you open the door, it's very difficult, if not impossible to close.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian ThePinkPlanner's avatar
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    Boiling it down to the simplicities, but you can pm me if you want the actual code:
    Mandated by state law to be permitted.
    Capped at 30% of primary unit.
    One bedroom max.
    Conditional use if it requires new construction.
    If no new construction, its an administrative permit we do in house.
    Parking for one additional vehicle.
    May be attached or detached.
    Currently, principal dwelling must be owner-occupied, though change is being discussed to allow accessory (smaller) unit to be owner occupied while larger unit is rented. Not sure yet how that will impact the one bedroom limit.
    No frontage requirements (struggling to see why you would need this).
    Wastewater impact is measured at 140 gallons (based on current rates, this is an allocation fee of about $1300).

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