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Homeowners adding small dwellings to property discussed

By Susan Mustapich | Dec 04, 2019

CAMDEN — Single-family home owners would be allowed to add a small, accessory dwelling to their property if a proposed zoning change goes to the polls in June and is approved.

This small dwelling can be rented, or the homeowner can move into the smaller dwelling and rent the larger single-family home, according to the proposal. Current zoning requires owners with accessory apartments to live in the primary residence. The proposal would not allow either building to be used for short-term rentals and one would have to be the primary residence of the owner and the other the primary residence of the renter.

Accessory dwellings are currently allowed in five districts. The proposal expands accessory dwellings to three additional districts,  Rural I and II, and Coastal Residential.

The Select Board has reviewed the idea and agreed it is a priority. The Planning Board has asked for clarifications and revisions from Planning and Development Director Jeremy Martin. In response to questions from Planning Board members, Martin agreed that the proposal would allow for an increase in housing density in certain districts, and support the tiny house movement.

The proposal aligns with increasing housing affordability and availability, a much discussed topic in Camden, according to Martin. Martin has heard from a handful of residents who would like to continue to live on their properties, in the smaller, accessory dwelling. This is not currently allowed by zoning rules.

During the Planning Board review, Jeanne Hollingsworth, Planning Office assistant, clarified that the existing rules for adding accessory buildings to properties are less restrictive than adding multi-family and single-family dwellings to a lot with an existing home.

Current zoning defines an accessory apartment as a second unit within a single-family home or in a building on the same lot as the single family home.

On a lot with a single family home, an accessory dwelling, defined as a building 600 square feet, or less, can be added. Adding a two-family or multi-family unit to the same property would require that a lot with public water and sewer be large enough to provide 7,500 square feet per living unit. A lot without public water and sewer has to have 40,000 square feet per unit to add a two-family building.

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Dec 04, 2019 14:39

Proves that Camdenites are as fool hardy as Rocklanders.

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