Proposed 2023 Accessory Apartment Zoning
Awaiting Attorney General Approval


Updated October 23, 2023

The Planning Board held a formal Public Hearing on September 20, 2023 on their two (2)  proposed zoning amendments for the November 7, 2023 Special Town Meeting, including amendments related to the Accessory Apartment Zoning Bylaw (Section 407) and minor amendments to Signs (Section 301).  

The Accessory Apartment amendments focus on creating more opportunities for additional year-round rental housing to help with our serious housing crunch while maintaining the residential character of our neighborhoods. 

Process to Develop the Accessory Apartment Amendments:  The Planning Board held over 27 public meetings throughout the past twelve months to develop amendments to the Accessory Apartment bylaw and build consensus through public participation and compromise.  The Planning Board used input from the Public Hearing for the Citizen Petition on Accessory Dwelling Units, their initial Listening Session in December 2022, and their own deliberations during the Spring to develop draft amendments which was reviewed by the public through three Listening Sessions held in June 2023 and presented to the Board of Selectmen.  The Planning Board deliberated throughout the summer on public comments received and made some amendments which were presented at the formal Public Hearing on September 20th.  The most notable changes include requiring all Accessory Apartments to be permitted via Special Permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals with no by-right options; clarifying screening requirements for parking; and adding a new definition for Primary Residence.  After deliberating on the comments from the formal Public Hearing, the Planning Board voted unanimously 7-0 to Recommend this Article with one amendment to make the definition of Primary Residence more grammatical. 

This information, Articles and Updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) was presented to the Board of Selectmen at their October 10th meeting (see link to the October 5th Planning Board Memo below).  

ARTICLE 19 – Accessory Apartments Summary:  This Article amends the existing Accessory Apartment bylaw to promote the creation of year-round rental units to help sustain our year-round workforce, prevent displacement of local residents, facilitate aging in place and allow for family members to live in close proximity while having their own separate spaces.

The current zoning bylaw limits Accessory Apartments to Family-Related units, or Affordable units which include specific provisions related to deed restrictions, maximum rental rates, and tenant eligibility requirements.  This Article would eliminate the Family-Related and Affordability restrictions for new Accessory Apartments, allowing the property owner to choose their tenant and rental rates.   

The Article also includes provisions to protect the character and appearance of our single-family residential neighborhoods by setting standards related to parking, stormwater, setback requirements, minimum lot size, maximum and minimum unit sizes, guidance on the design/appearance of the apartments, limiting apartments to one per eligible lot, prohibiting separate ownership of the apartment,  and including a primary residency requirement for the property owner.   To ensure year round usage, all rental units must be leased for a minimum of 12 consecutive months and the owner occupied unit cannot be rented out in any manner.  Permitting for all Accessory Apartments shall remain via Special Permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA).  

The amendments also include provisions for addressing existing Family-Related and Affordable Accessory Apartments and requirements for transfer of rights upon sale of the property, as well as regulatory requirements such as setting parameters for inspections, enforcement, rental registration and affidavits.

For questions or inquiries, contact Town Planner Kathy Williams at: