Commission opts out of ‘granny pods’ law

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PROSPECT — The Planning and Zoning Commission last week opted out of a state law that allows temporary health care structures as an accessory use in any single-family residential zone.

Chairman Gil Graveline said the law, as written, has “so many loose ends,” but that the commission could always revisit the decision in the future.

“I think that was dead from when it started,” Graveline said.

Prospect is the latest of several towns in the region, including Waterbury, Naugatuck, Bethlehem, and Southbury, to opt out of the legislation.

According to the law, which went into effect in October, the structures, known as “granny pods” must be detached units owned by the caregiver of a mentally or physically impaired person.

The law was designed for situations such as adult children to care for their aging parents as an alternative to a nursing home. It would give the impaired persons a sense of independence while keeping them near their caregivers, proponents said.

The structure must be removed once the impaired person no longer needs it. Opponents said the regulations would be hard to enforce.

“I don’t think it’s a very good idea for us to get involved in this,” commissioner Jack Crumb said.