How Burlington hopes to make it easier to rent out space at your home

Published: Dec. 7, 2019 at 9:18 PM EST
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The city of Burlington is proposing an amendment that seeks to make it easier for homeowners to create accessory dwelling units.

Those are one-bedroom apartments located either within or on the same property as a single-family house that is still occupied by the owner.

They can be above a garage, in a basement or a backyard cottage.

The city says accessory dwelling units can help homeowners offset housing cost, create a variety of living options, and provide more affordable accommodations.

Some people in Burlington say that's exactly what the city needs.

"I think because of the housing crunch, the ongoing housing crunch in Burlington, I think it should be considered that accessory buildings be allowed if the conditions are favorable and the process is vetted," said Peter Hudson, a Burlington resident.

Hudson has lived in Burlington for 37 years and has watched the housing trends change. He thinks accessory dwelling units are the step in the right direction – and believes they will alleviate the housing problem for now.

"I don't think it would be a silver bullet," said Hudson. "I think we have to keep exploring new ideas that I think work within the existing fabric of Burlington but continue to enhance and evolve what Burlington is."

Other people are more skeptical and want to make sure accessory dwelling units are well-regulated.

"I think the question of it is comes down to what would they quality of the housing be," said UVM graduate student Robin Rice. "Because if it's literally someone living in a garage then it doesn't really make much sense to let that happen."

The proposal says each unit must provide proper provisions for living, sleeping and food preparation. They also have to be in compliance with the public works department's wastewater regulations, and no more than two adults can live there.

A public meeting on this matter will be held on Tuesday at Burlington City Hall at 6:30.

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