PROSPECT — Town officials have voted to approve the Opt-out of the requirement for the allowance of accessory living units or accessory apartments.

The state legislature in 2021 passed HB 6107 which mandated Accessory Dwelling Units and limited off-street parking to a maximum of 2 spaces for 2 or more bedroom units; 1 space for studios and 1 bedroom units. Municipalities were able to opt out before the end of 2022.

The Town Council approved to opt out of the state mandate at its Dec. 20 meeting.

Land Use Inspector Mary Barton put a letter together explaining how the state is trying to dictate to everyone what to do for the accessory apartments on a single-family property. The state is trying to make more affordable housing units and doesn’t count mobile home parks as affordable housing, according to meeting minutes.

“The amount of affordable housing units in town is supposed to be 10% of the total,” Barton said. “There are 55 units at Regency that are considered affordable. We are currently at 1.9 %.”

Barton said because the mobile home park is not deed restricted it is not considered affordable housing by the state.

This is a state mandated change to accessory units and town officials would have to permit interior accessory units and detached accessory units. There is also no right of appeal, Barton said.

Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman E. Gil Graveline Jr. said the town does allow in-law apartments and there are restrictions but it works out well.

Council member Theresa C. Graveline said there is a need to upgrade the septic system if an accessory unit is added.

“The state doesn’t care about that, they don’t care about well, septic, restrictions setbacks, etc.,” council member Stan Pilat said.

Barton said this is basically “statewide zoning.”

Barton and E. Gil Graveline Jr. said current accessory apartment size needs to be within the primary dwelling, it has to have bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom, and a minimum of 650 square feet of heated living area of the primary house, according to meeting minutes.

Barton stated the P&Z commission will still look into detached accessory units.

“Currently there are 147 accessory units in town,” Barton said. “There are some existing nonconforming two-families, residential units on commercial properties to encourage affordability but these aren’t countable as far as the state.”

Theresa C. Graveline said this is more a state directive for statewide zoning and isn’t about improving affordable housing. It’s disturbing that the state is trying to mandate the town’s zoning.

“We are a community that has its own personality and that is true of 168 other towns in Connecticut,” Theresa C. Graveline said.

Barton said the regulations doesn’t permit water and sewer in detached garage or structures because then they can become illegal apartments.