Granny pods could be coming soon

 

Effective Oct. 1, Redding’s Zoning Enforcement Officer Aimee Pardee is proposing the implementation of a law recently created in regard to temporary health care structures.

According to the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association, the new law, An Act Concerning Temporary Healthcare Structures, allows small accessory units to be built in a single-family zone.  

The purpose is to provide a second dwelling for any person who is physically or mentally handicapped. This building is also referred to as a “granny pod,” a concept praised at the June 27 Planning & Zoning meeting for keeping families together.

Planning commission member Anda Cumings supports the law, which she said would enable the sandwich generation to keep working their careers while taking care of parents and children on their own property.

“That is what the spirit of it is. It’s better for everyone in a family to keep living together,” she said.

John Hayes, Redding’s planning consultant, pointed out that these structures would be available to people regardless of age, but restricted to a handicapped person.

“They’re not available for simply an elderly person,” he said.

However, there is a provision in this law of which the town may opt out.  

According to Pardee, the Planning Commission is looking into this legislation and examining how it fits within the town’s plan of development.

“The bottom line is that this act has passed and we have in place zoning laws that allow accessory structures.  However, we have certain limitations on them in terms of square feet and where they can go,” she said. “Although the legislation does not bypass some of our zoning requirements, it does bypass others.

“The question is, do we want to opt out?” Pardee added. “The planning commission and Redding selectmen would all have to agree to opt out.”

This legislation is currently being discussed and will be readdressed at a future planning commission meeting.

According to Carol Keil, Redding’s land use administrator, several residents have asked her about the granny pods, “but there are other issues with these. We are a town that does not have public septic and water supply. [The structure] is still a dwelling, so you would have to figure out how to provide septic and fresh water from a well for them,” she said. “This may make the cost prohibitive.”

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