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Zoners Schedule Hearings on Accessory Buildings

Zoners Schedule Hearings on Accessory Buildings

The Orange Plan and Zoning Commission has scheduled public hearings as it is faced with the question whether or not to allow detached accessory buildings on single family lots.  The hearings will be held at the commission’s next regular meeting, February 15, at 7 p.m.

At issue are three provisions adopted at the state level, regulations that would allow accessory structures, either for medical caregivers or for any other person living there.  The towns have the option to opt out of this legislation.  If they don’t opt out, the state regulation will take hold.

There are three parts to this legislation, and hence will require three separate hearings, which will be held on February 15.

Temporary Healthcare Structures:  One zoning regulation is to allow temporary structures specifically for health care providers and their patients.  Currently Orange zoning regulations allow only one dwelling unit on each residential lot.  The state law would allow temporary, detached structures such as trailers, that can be brought onto a lot specifically for the purpose of caring for an individual who may be mentally or physically impaired.

Zoning Enforcement Officer Jack Demirjian said it would require a certification by a physician that the patient needs help with everyday activities, and the permit would have to be regularly renewed.  The structure cannot be larger than 500 square feet and must be transportable.

Accessory Dwelling Unit:  A second, more impactful legislation would allow accessory dwelling units on residential lots, as long as they comply with health- and fire codes as well as zoning setbacks.  These can be rented out, and there is no age restriction.  They may be placed on a slab, and do not need to be temporary structures.  They may have cooking facilities.

Accessory dwelling units are often considered a tool to increase housing options in any given municipality, without the need for creating multi-family housing.

Parking Rules:  The state also reduced the minimum parking space requirements from two spaces per residential dwelling unit to one.  For a residential lot with a potential accessory dwelling on it, that would still require a minimum of two parking spaces for that particular lot.

By Bettina Thiel – Orange Town News Correspondent

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