Montclair, NJ – Call it a place for Mom. Or a separate living space for a young adult son or daughter. Or an opportunity to offset Montclair taxes with some rental income. Tonight, Montclair Council will vote to finalize an Accessory Dwelling Unit ordinance.
Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), also known as in-law suites, granny flats or guest houses, come in many shapes (apartments above garages or units that are free standing or attached to the main house on the property they share). A typical ADU is roughly 600 to 1,000 square feet, has a bathroom, a kitchen or kitchenette, and, usually, a separate entrance. These smaller units use less electricity and water and are considered more environmentally friendly because they are a low-impact solution to a need for more housing.
Some 1.4 million Americans have added ADUs to their single family homes. ADUs offer an affordable housing option that can keep families together, bridge the gap between when college students live at home before starting a career. They also afford an income stream to homeowners who want age in place by providing rental income. ADUs are also lauded for creating inclusive housing opportunities and more diversity in communities. In 2021, Maplewood and Princeton passed their new ADU ordinances. South Orange is also looking to approve a new ordinance that would allow residential property owners in the township to create ADUs.
Montclair Council can vote to adopt this Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance, a revised version with input from the Planning Board, that was passed on first reading in January.
Montclair Gateway Aging in Place board members Ann Lippel and Frank Millspaugh have been actively involved with Third Ward Councilor Lori Price Abrams to both educate the public and move the proposed ordinance forward. In May, MGAP held a virtual symposium, “ADU: What’s In It For You.”