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Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s)

Mar 21st, 2016

According to (NH) SB 146, “accessory dwelling unit” means a residential living unit that is within or attached to a single-family dwelling, and that provides independent living facilities for one or more persons, including provisions for sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation on the same parcel of land as the principal dwelling unit it accompanies.

These have often been referred to as “mother-in-law apartments” or “granny flats.”  In some cases, they may be detached – over a garage or in an outbuilding on the property, for example.

Governor Maggie Hassan signed this bill on March 16 2016.  The major intent of the bill is that

SB 146 will require municipal zoning ordinances to allow, in all districts that permit single-family residences, one attached ADU by right, special exception, or conditional use permit.  If the ordinance is silent on the matter, attached ADUs will be deemed allowed in any single-family home.  At its discretion, a municipality may allow detached ADUs. (from Summary, prepared by Ben Frost of New Hampshire Housing.)

 It will go into effect on June 1, 2017, so communities have a full year to prepare.

On March 17, 2016, Plan NH hosted a 2-hour workshop to look at this bill.  Ben Frost, of New Hampshire Housing, gave an overview of the bill, its origins, and what communities must, may, and must not do when drafting their own ordinances.  Then, John Vogl, Acting Planner from Londonderry and Jonathan Edwards, a planning consultant with the Arnett Development Group, talked about Londonderry’s experiences with creating and rewriting their ADU ordinance and how it fit in with their overall workforce/affordable housing efforts.

To view Ben Frost’s overview and summary of the bill,  go here:  ADU’s defined (including SB 146) – Ben Frost presentation March 17 2016 for Plan NH workshop

To view the Londonderry story, go here:  ADU regulations in Londonderry – presentation for Plan NH March 17 2016.

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