Montgomery County Council panel mulls accessory apartment rules -- Gazette.Net


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As Montgomery County considers streamlining the process for allowing accessory apartments, more legislation is expected to be introduced to clarify how the county doles out licenses for those housing units.

The County Council is considering easing the process for getting permission to build an accessory apartment, which is an extra dwelling unit that is part of a single-family home.

Under a zoning amendment proposed this summer, the apartments would be added without the special approval depending on the zone, the size of the apartment and whether it is attached or detached from the existing home. Now, all accessory apartments require special approval.

The current regulations give residents the right to comment and object to an apartment designation through the special exception process. The councilís Planning, Housing and Economic Development committee worked on language Monday that would maintain public involvement even if the apartments were permitted without a special exception.

Under the draft billís provisions, applicants could apply for waivers and residents could object. The countyís hearing examiner would resolve most controversies.

Introduction of the bill is expected in mid-November.

Proposals to ease the process of getting permission to build an accessory apartment have been floated before.

In 2004, then-County Executive Douglas M. Duncanís plan failed to advance to a council vote.

In 2008, an affordable housing task force asked County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) to call for zoning law changes.

kalexander@gazette.net