Burlington housing reform efforts hone in on accessory dwelling units

Local News

BURLINGTON, Vt. – As the Queen City attempts to build off of two housing summits hosted this summer, the Planning Commission held a joint meeting with the City Council Ordinance Committee on potential changes to accessory dwelling units.

Accessory dwelling units are separate living spaces rented out inside larger homes, and the city hopes changing regulations will allow more homeowners to rent out space while providing others with additional affordable housing options.

Proposed reforms include no longer requiring the units to have a dedicated parking space, and reducing the required space needed in a home to rent out an apartment.

At the meeting, several residents said they are hopeful the changes will achieve the city’s desired results, but added that the process could still be too expensive for many to complete.

Scott Mapes, a Burlington resident, said code required him to install a sprinkler system that resulted in a more expensive project than originally anticipated.

“I have a 500 square foot living space, and I’m required to have a sprinkler system that will add about $25,000 to my project,” Mapes said.

Amy Magyar, also a Burlington resident, had a similar problem – she was told she had to install a $10,000 sprinkler system on the day she was hoping to get her A.D.U. approved.

The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on potential changes to A.D.U. regulations in the coming months before handing them off to the Burlington City Council.

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