November 23, 2019

There has been a lot of discussion over the past five years or so in the Seacoast Maine and New Hampshire about Accessory Dwelling Units or ADUs but are you clear about what they are?

An ADU is a simple idea of having a second small dwelling on your property. Depending on the town zoning and code, they can be attached or detached to the house. If they are attached, we would also refer to them as an In-Law Apartment because your in-laws could live with you as they age (I shudder to think of that situation in my own life, but the philosophy is very positive).

An ADU can be an apartment over the garage, a tiny house on its own foundation, a wing off the side of the house or a basement apartment. It typically has one bedroom or an open concept studio living space, bathroom, kitchen / dining area and utility room for laundry etc.

We worked on this ADU located in Rye over a period of about a year. Why so long? Because we had to get a variance since the existing barn that we were converting to and ADU sat too close to the property line and at that time Rye did not allow ADUs. The ZBA (Zoning Board of Appeals) was back logged for months delaying the project but at the end of our meeting the comment was made that the town needs to look at code because building affordable housing should be a focus. The only restriction on the project was that they have to rent it out for 3 months or more – no short-term rentals. In the end, we created an amazing project that will provide additional housing for someone at a reasonable price – plus, it’s pretty cute!

My son lives and works in California where code for ADUs are very lenient because the cost of living is so high. He literally pays $1200 to live in a garden shed (just like the one in my own backyard) with a tiny shower and microwave. But the towns of Rye, North Hampton, Portsmouth, Kittery, York and Eliot are still having healthy conversations about whether or not to allow ADUs. I struggle a bit with the hesitation because we too are in a housing crisis!

AFFORDABLE

This ADU featured here will rent for about $2000/month. It has a private entrance, laundry/ storage, parking, a large open space, full bath, closet, full kitchen, dining area and an amazing deck. To top it off, all new furniture from Room & Board. You get a lot for your money with an ADU including privacy! Try finding such a great apartment in Rye.

LACK OF HOUSING

This ADU will now add another unit of housing for the town of Rye that is in desperate need for additional affordable housing. People want to live in the area but don’t necessarily have the funds to buy a house or even want to, this affords the freedom to live in a beautiful area and not break the bank.

PROPERTY TAX RELIEF + ADDITIONAL INCOME

In our region, housing prices have soared over the last 15 years to the point that young families and older folks are forced to move out of the area. Having an income producing unit on your property is a wonderful way to help pay taxes.