Skip to main content

Planning Board ADU Hearing- November 15, 2022 - OBSERVER REPORT

Planning Board ADU Hearing- November 15, 2022

LWVM Observer – Cathy Marie Michael


Present: Chairman Robert Schaeffner, Ed Nilsson, Rossanna Ferrante, Steve Leverone, Andrew Christensen. Barton Hyte. Guest: Rebecca Curran Cutting, Town Planner


Agenda: Listen to public testimony and concerns with Accessory Dwelling Units, ADUs


Purpose of ADUs: To address shortage of housing in Marblehead


Recap, Power Point of previous meetings given by R Schaeffner of Planning Board:


Benefits of ADUs:

  • Allow for family to live on same property
  • Provide rental income, especially for retirees
  • Allow seniors with large houses to age in place
  • ADUs tend to be lower priced, so “naturally” affordable
  • Converting illegal apartments to legal ADUs can improve safety
  • Distribute new housing within existing buildings rather than new larger buildings


Draft Rules - open for discussion/comment

  • One ADU per property
  • Either ADU or primary residence must be owner occupied
  • One parking space for each ADU must be provided
  • The units cannot be sold independently of each other
  • Short term rentals (AIRBNBs) are prohibited
  • Process — by right in certain circumstances and by special permit in others


Items still up in the air

  • Size limitation-  Limit to 2 bedroom or a maximum of 1000sqft?
  • How to ensure rules are followed — affidavits, certifications, annual inspections
  • Limit rent to 70% or area rents as determined by HUD (greater affordability) or no restriction (more likely to be built)


Public Comments:

  • Kurt James - In favor of affordability. Salem has used 70% of going rate can use not more than 30% of income
  • Probably necessary to implement state or town incentives to make it worthwhile for homeowners such as
    • Subsidize the lower rent
    • A grant through the Affordable Housing Trust
    • Property tax exemption
  • Will current in-law apartments qualify? Yes, can be brought up to code - complete an application to make sure it meets all requirements.
  • Will there be a limit on number of occupants in an ADU?
  • Erin Noonan - There is NO flood of applications in other towns. Seems they are being stifled. Her question was parked for future discussion.
  • Lou Meyi - Town could offer loans at an affordable rate. Most banks do not offer loans for this. 


Next Steps:

Warrant article for Town Meeting 2023 must be drafted by January 28, 2022. PB will draft with enough time to elicit more comments.


For more info: Research Paper: Pioneer Institute: