At Saturday’s Town Meeting, I will be making a motion to amend the two Zoning Proposals regarding Accessory Apartments (Articles 20 and 21). I will move to eliminate the requirement that no more than two people can live in an Accessory Apartment.Here are the reasons I am proposing these amendments.
1. Our current bylaw has successfully allowed Attached Accessory Apartments for 15 years without setting limits on the number of people who can live in them. There is no need to add this limit now.
2. Attached Accessory Apartments are often referred to as In-Law Apartments, with theidea of creating a small apartment for a set of grandparents. But the in-laws could also be a grown child with a spouse and their young children. Or a single parent with teenagers. Or a young couple hired by the homeowners to help with house and yard work, who get pregnant and have twins. Or any combination of adults and children that the homeowners choose to rent their apartment to.
3. The provision setting a limit on the number of residents in an apartment seemsunenforceable, and would likely be widely ignored, except for the times when it might beused by a disgruntled neighbor to complain and force a confrontation.
4. In Groton, the number of bedrooms in a home (not the number of people living in thehome) is used to determine the size of the septic system or amount of sewer capacityrequired for the home. Both of the Accessory Apartment proposals (Articles 20 and 21)include a limit of two bedrooms in an 800-square-foot apartment. This is an appropriatelimit that I support.
5. Groton’s Zoning Bylaw sets no limits on the number of people who can live in a single-family home. We should not be setting a limit on the number of people who can live in anattached or detached apartment. There are provisions in state law to cover situations ofgross and unsanitary overcrowding should they ever occur in Groton.
6. Homeowners can, and may well choose to, set a limit on the number of people they will allow to live in an apartment that is attached to their own home, based on their septicsystem and available space for parking. But town government has no business tellinghomeowners how many people can live in their apartment.
I hope you will vote in favor of these amendments.