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ARCA and the Accessory Dwelling Units Rules

[ 0 ] January 6, 2018 |


Although few residents were aware of the County’s “sleeper initiative” to enhance the construction of “ADUs” in Arlington’s residential neighborhoods like ours, at its November 27th meeting the County Board approved liberalization of existing rules allowing the conversion of space in existing homes into apartments with a bath and basic kitchen appliances needed to house family members desiring privacy and a degree of independence, care givers, or just about anyone to whom the property owner wishes to rent his or her ADU. The initiative was intended to help seniors “age in place,” as well as to help provide more affordable housing in the County.

However, a critical component of the County staff proposal was permission for the first time to convert garages into ADUs, as well as to build totally “remote” or free-standing ADUs in property owners back yards within as little as a foot of the property line they share with their neighbors. It was to this proposal that ARCA drew a line and voiced its strong opposition. Copies of its written statement to the Board, and it’s president’s verbal presentation can be viewed respectively at:

Submission to County Board Nov 21, 2017

Board Presentation Nov 27, 2017

During its formal consideration of the staff ADU initiative, Board members Garvey, Dorsey and Vihstadt all voiced concerns about these “remote” units on a variety of grounds, particularly their proximity to neighbors’ property lines. After much discussion, the Board resolved to approve liberalization of the regulations applicable to in-home ADUs, but to put on hold for further study and analysis by staff of their proposal applicable to remote ADUs. Stay tuned. This topic is sure to resurface before long.

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