Breckenridge looks to change accessory dwelling unit code to encourage additional workforce housing
Town Council votes to pass changes on 1st reading
On Nov. 9, Breckenridge Town Council passed on first reading updates to its accessory dwelling unit policies, adding incentives in the planning process for folks who add the units to their properties and streamlining the review process.
According to the Town Council agenda packet, an accessory dwelling unit is an area in a residence with separate access from the primary dwelling, such as a carriage house or mother-in-law suite. These areas must have a wet bar and two or more of the following:
- Ability to be converted into a separate dwelling unit with a minor modification
- A potential sleeping room
- A full bathroom
Director of Community Development Mark Truckey and Assistant Director Julia Puester explained the updates, which were made based on council feedback from an October work session, at council’s Nov. 9 meeting.
Puester said updates in the ordinance would allow the town to add more positive points if someone is planning to include an accessory dwelling unit that would provide housing to a member of the workforce.
The town uses a point analysis system for reviewing development applications through the planning process. Town staff and planning commission award points for aspects of planning projects that contribute to town goals and remove points for those against town goals or code. Typically, zero or more points are required for a project to be considered passable.
Certain fees, including for building permit applications and water taps, would also be waived under the plan as another way to incentivize accessory dwelling units.
The town also changed what level of review process accessory dwelling units would go through. Most accessory dwelling units would go through a Class D review process, which is done at the staff level. If the unit receives a negative point total or is on a “lot that does not have a platted disturbance envelope,” it would become Class C and subject to planning commission and council approval, Puester said.
In Breckenridge, accessory dwelling units are required to house someone who works at least 30 hours a week in the community. The town is also adding a rental rate cap of 120% of area median income to accessory dwelling unit deed restrictions, which amounts to $80,760 for a single person. The town would also require that the units are continuously occupied, going unoccupied for no more than 30 days.
Council member Carol Saade asked how the town intends to enforce the 30-day vacancy rule, to which Puester said the new housing compliance position will be responsible for monitoring.
Council member Dick Carleton asked whether there is language included that could prevent someone from modifying the accessory dwelling unit to remove the deed restriction on it. Puester said the deed restriction is in place in perpetuity.
Another change to the code would remove proposed size limitations of wet bars, which are kitchen-like counter areas with a sink that may include a fridge, dishwasher, cabinets or microwave but cannot include an oven or a cooktop.
There were some exceptions to this rule, but council had some confusion around the wording in this part of the ordinance, so town staff agreed to further review it for second reading.
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