BPDA To Host May 8 Virtual Meeting on City’s Plan To Update Residential Zoning Codes To Allow for More ADU Development

The Boston Planning & Development Agency Planning team will lead a virtual conversation on its plans to update residential zoning codes to allow for the development of more Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) on Wednesday, May 8, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

​The City of Boston and the BPDA are now working to eliminate barriers for creating ADUs by updating zoning to make these small homes as-of-right citywide. The ADU program allows owner-occupants to build smaller, independent units inside their homes or in their yards.

The Citywide ADU Zoning staff hosted a kickoff meeting in March that focused on what ADUs can offer for Boston homeowners, as well as the necessity of updating the zoning code to allow for the by-right development of ADUs. The team also discussed the key tasks, goals, and overall timeline of the ADU Zoning Initiative at that time.

During next week’s meeting, BPDA Planning and Urban Design staff will share results of analysis on existing building and lot patterns across Boston, which are helping to shape future draft zoning recommendations.

A consultant is also now in the process of producing an ADU guidebook, along with zoning recommendations for implementing ADUs citywide. The illustrated manual is intended to help guide Boston property owners who may want to build an ADU on their property.

The Citywide ADU Zoning initiative builds on five years of work with the Mayor’s Office of Housing under the ADU Program. The current ADU program allows owner-occupants to build an ADU using only existing space within their homes (such as within an unused attic or basement). This effort also builds on work by the Boston Mayor’s Office of Housing through its Additional Dwelling Unit (ADU) Program, as well as ongoing work in Boston’s Mattapan neighborhood to advance by-right ADU development.

The zoning initiative “aims to expand this opportunity, increase lower-cost housing options, empower residents to build wealth, and foster diverse, multi-generational living spaces,” according to a BPDA spokesperson. “ADUs are a key part of the Mayor’s policy goals, which recommend allowing ADUs so that homeowners can utilize their property to its fullest potential, adding more room for growing families or providing opportunities for generating additional income if it is used as a rental unit.”

Staff is hoping to release draft recommendations for Citywide ADU Zoning this summer, and the ADU guidebook is expected to be finalized this fall, according to a BPDA spokesperson.

​Register for the online event at https://www.zoomgov.com/meeting/register/vJIsce2prDgrGGzSJq-TQvfydXqlTqr1iIk#/registration.

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