By Carol Britton Meyer
In the midst of conversations about the high cost of living and the need for more affordable housing in town, a citizen's petition that would allow accessory dwelling units (ADU) in separate, detached structures on the same lot as the principal dwelling is among the proposed amendments to the town's zoning by-law for consideration at the April 26 Town Meeting.
The citizen's petition was submitted to the town by Fort Hill Street residents Ray and Jennifer Estes and signed by 15 other residents besides themselves. The hearing process began Jan. 4.
This proposed change follows passage at the 2018 Town Meeting of a zoning by-law amendment that allows ADUs -- often called in-law apartments -- in primary dwellings with a special permit, with certain criteria in place. Occupancy of the accessory unit is limited to family members or a caregiver.
Both the approved amendment and the proposed by-law change are geared toward allowing more flexibility for families wishing to remain in Hingham but who are finding it difficult in the current economic climate that includes high home prices and rising property taxes.