Accessory Dwelling Unit Changes Could Make Milford More Affordable

January 4, 2023 - by Rich Scinto, Patch Staff - MILFORD, CT - The Planning and Zoning Commission regulation subcommittee proposed changes to the city’s accessory dwelling unit regulations in an effort to help with the affordable housing crisis.  The work was spurred by a state law that required towns to either adopt state regulations or opt-out.

The four major proposals that came out of the subcommittee are:

  • Removing language that requires ADU residents to be related by blood, marriage or legal adoption.
  • Allow ADUs to be a source of rental income.
  • An 800-square foot limit.
  • Require ADUs to be attached to the main property. An ADU couldn’t be constructed in a detached garage.

The Planning and Zoning Commission kept the public hearing open so that commissioners could continue to receive input from the public before it makes a final decision.

Milford’s Board of Aldermen and Planning and Zoning Commission opted out of the state regulations, but there was much discussion about updating Milford’s own regulation.

Mayor Ben Blake at the time encouraged the bodies to opt-out of the state law, so the city could keep local control, but encouraged the commission to take another look at Milford’s own regulations.

Blake spoke in favor of the subcommittees regulations at the full commission’s Tuesday meeting.

“I think that the draft proposal is appropriate, I think it's balanced,” he said. “And I want to compliment each and every one of you again for making wise decisions on behalf of appropriate planning for our community.”

The vast majority of residents who spoke at the meeting or submitted letters were in favor of the subcommittee’s proposed changes.

Changing the ADU regulations was a win-win for Milford, resident Bruce Barrett said. The city is desirable to live in, but has become a victim of its own success as rent has skyrocketed, he said.

“Landlords want to charge more in rent and the prices go up,” he said. “And it's very hard to live in Milford, which means that many of us don't have families that can stay here.”

The commission received about three dozen letters from the public, with all but three in support of the regulation change.

Changing ADU regulations would make it easier for businesses to hire local residents and for police, firefighters and other public servants to life in town, resident Sarah Bromley wrote.

“Updating antiquated regulations and making them less restrictive for homeowners is a common sense change that is long overdue,” she said.

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