To the Editor,
At the Special Town Meeting on November 13th, you will vote on a proposed Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) bylaw for detached accessory structures. This is changing a current bylaw that allows, in single resident districts only, an employee of an owner-occupied property to reside on the premises in an accessory structure. The proposed change is to remove “employee” as a requirement and allow an accessory structure to become an Accessory Dwelling Unit with a Special Permit. Look around you, is there a garage, stable, shed, or other accessory structure next door to you or in your neighborhood that could become a new additional dwelling unit?
Our present bylaw allows for a second dwelling unit within a residence in Single Family Districts that have twice the required lot size. This proposes to have a second ADU bylaw for detached structures in all residential districts. An ADU bylaw for detached accessory structures can be a good planning tool to provide housing diversity for communities. Neighboring communities have robust ADU bylaws that set a standard of requirements for these additional dwelling units to ensure they fit into the fabric of the Town. This proposal falls way short of ensuring these criteria for Manchester. It lacks proper property line setbacks, proper lot size, adequate off-street parking, size of structure, number of bedrooms, what constitutes “existing”, and more.
Other questions – what is the quantity of ADU’s in town now, can more dwelling units fit on a lot size that is zoned for only one, or a third dwelling on a lot zoned for two, how will this impact school numbers, how will this impact off-street parking and traffic, how will this impact water and sewer, how are short-term rentals enforced? We need Senior Housing and Affordable Housing, why doesn’t this address either of those needs?
Is this the really best we can do? We need to construct an ADU bylaw that also protects the stability and character of our neighborhoods. Vote NO on Article 4.