After almost six years of working and reworking the language, Cape Charles is inching closer to having an ordinance on the books that will allow for the conditional use for accessory dwelling units.
Town Council met Thursday for a work session that attempted to nail down the last strands of the ordinance. Cela Burge noted that there were already several units and cottages in town, and questioned whether they would be grandfathered as a secondary use to primary use (home). Planner DiRe said they could if they had been in use within the prior two years.
The fees associated with accessory dwellings is still a sticking point. Paul Grossman questioned if the water connections ran through the main home to the secondary dwelling, would there be one or two bills. The consensus at this time is that there will be one bill, to be handled by the primary residence. Separate hookups would incur connection fees, however, there was a debate on whether the fee should be graduated or the full amount.
Council appeared to be in agreement that affordable workforce housing was the primary goal, “That’s what we should be looking at. And, how can we incentivize this, kind of like how we do it in the tourism zone,” Andy Buchholz said. While reducing fees as a way to get people to either build or adaptively re-use a structure was discussed, no consensus was reached.
Larry DiRe noted that at the top end, he would not expect to see more than twenty-four units accepted for secondary use.
Town Council will be discussing this more at next Thursday’s Regular Meeting, where accessory dwelling is expected to be on the agenda as an action item.
Town Staff provided this information:
In brief the proposed text amendments state the following: 1) accessory dwelling units are a conditional use, not a by right use; 2) accessory dwelling units must be part of an accessory building; 3) accessory dwelling units may have a separate water\sewer\trash account from the main structure and are billed accordingly; 4) accessory dwelling units have a separate entrance from the accessory building’s entrance; 5) accessory dwelling units must meet all building, fire, and residential code requirements. The following specifics should be remembered as well:
• Accessory dwelling units are not synonymous with tiny houses, all dwelling units are still by way of “accessory” use to a garage,
workshop, or other secondary use of the main structure residential dwelling.
• Accessory dwelling units are by conditional use only and need to meet all zoning ordinance requirements of a conditional use.
• Accessory dwelling units must conform to all relevant building, fire, and property maintenance code regulations.
• Accessory dwelling units are not short-term rentals and length of stay period for occupants aligns with the terms identified in the
Town’s current transient occupancy tax and building code regulations.
• Water\sewer\trash monthly fee – All accessory dwelling units shall be billed as a water\sewer\trash account separate from the
account for the main structure and shall pay the minimum monthly account fee as set by Town Council.
• Water meter option – An accessory dwelling unit may have a separate water meter from that of the main structure upon request
by the property owner. If so requested the property owner shall pay all water and sewer utility connection fees as set by Town
Council. Metered accessory dwelling units will receive a water\sewer bill based on the metered use, but not less than the minimum
monthly account fee.
• Trash can – All accessory dwelling units shall have a separate trash can provided by the contract waste disposal company.
• Inspections – All accessory dwelling units shall be inspected annually not later than fifteen (15) days from the anniversary date of
the conditional use permit being approved by Town Council.