Public to have say on changes for accessory apartments -- Gazette.Net


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The Montgomery County Council will hear from residents Tuesday on a proposed zoning change that would allow accessory apartments in certain zones without special approval.

The council will hold a public hearing on the proposed amendment at 7:30 p.m. in the council building on Maryland Avenue in Rockville.

The county’s zoning code now requires special approval from the Board of Appeals to build an accessory apartment, which is an extra dwelling unit that is part of a single family home.

If approved, the proposed amendment would allow the apartments in some zones without that approval, depending on the zone, the size of the apartment and whether it is attached or detached from the existing home.

Among its changes, the amendment would differentiate between attached and detached apartments.

It would also establish standards and requirements for the apartments — including entrances, size, parking, residency and distance from other accessory apartments — and would limit the number of accessory apartments allowed in the county at 2,000.

According to Montgomery Planning Board documents, more citizens opposed the amendment than favored it when the board sought input on the change prior to sending the amendment to the council for introduction in July.

Concerns of traffic congestion, parking, enforcement of legal and illegal accessory apartments, overcrowded schools, and effects on a neighborhood’s character outnumbered assertions that the change would add affordable housing, provide economic stability for homeowners and allow seniors to age in place.

The Planning Board voted Thursday to recommended the council approve the amendment.

The council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development committee is scheduled to begin work on the amendment on Oct. 1.

kalexander@gazette.net