Accessory Dwelling Units Ordinance Passed In Frederick

It was approved Thursday night by the Board of Aldermen.

Frederick, Md (KM) An ordinance governing accessory dwelling units in Frederick was approved Thursday night by the Board of Aldermen. The measure would allow dwelling units of up to 800-square feet attached to a single family home or a duplex. Construction of internal, attached or detached units would require a building permit, and would be limited to two stories in height, or the height of the main residence, whichever is less.

The ordinance also says a property owner would have to live in the ADU or the main resident on the property, and additional parking spaces  would have to be added.

ADU have been described as an affordable housing option. Alderman Ben MacShane, who voted for the ordinance, called ADU’s “a fantastic opportunity for many families living in our city.  Families with an older relative who would really benefit from being able to live on the property with their family. But have their own space, their own privacy, a level of their own independence still.”

Prior to the vote, the Alderman heard public testimony. Peter Brant said accessory dwelling units would be detrimental to Frederick. “If the Aldermen and Alderwomen care about 40% tree canopy , they should vote no. If the Aldermen and Alderwomen care about stormwater  management and flooding in Frederick, they should vote no,” he said.

Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak voted “yes.” “Sheds and garages can still be build in even larger sizes than these ADU’s can be built,” she said. “So you can actually have a garage built next to you that’s more than 800-square feet, and we don’t stop that.”

The vote for this ordinance was three-to-two. Alderman Roger Wilson voted in opposition. “I am not an opponent of ADU’s. I am definitely a proponent, advocate for affordable housing.  I do like ADU’s as  a tool in our tool set for our challenge with affordable housing. But more input is needed,” he said. That input needs to come from the communities where ADU’s will be located.

His colleague, Alderwoman Kelly Russell, also voted “no.” She also said she is a supporter of ADU’s, but more input is needed from the public. “If it would be a consideration to put a sunset on this ordinance so that we would have an opportunity to revisit it to see whether or not  it accomplishing the goals it was intended. to,” she said.

Alderman Derek Shackeford  proposed the measure.  :”We always can change something. We always can bring it back and modify or propose something different,” he said. “So I would not be in favor of a sunset provision.”

The new ordinance takes affect October 18th.

By Kevin McManus