Town to Conduct "How To" Workshop on Accessory Apartments


TOWN TO CONDUCT “HOW TO” WORKSHOP ON ACCESSORY APARTMENTS
Residents Asked to Complete Survey

The Town of Fairfield will hold a workshop on accessory dwelling units (ADUs), more commonly known as accessory or “in-law” apartments, beginning at 7:00 PM on Monday, November 13, 2023 at the Fairfield Museum & History Center, located at 320 Beach Road.  The workshop is free and open to the public, and is being co-hosted by the Town of Fairfield Affordable Housing Committee and Fairfield Senior Advocates.

During this informative one-hour workshop, participants can learn more about accessory dwelling units and recent changes to the Town’s zoning regulations that make it easier to establish one.  The program will include a moderated panel discussion of key design considerations and permitting requirements in the Town of Fairfield to establish an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), as well as information on benefits, potential costs and common pitfalls that homeowners should avoid.  Panelists are expected to include Assistant Planning Director Emmeline Harrigan, realtor Denise Walsh and local builder Mike Procyk of A. Pro Builders, among others.  Light refreshments will be provided.  

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a residential unit that can be added to a single-family home. ADUs can be detached (a separate building) from the main home, an addition to the main home, a conversion of existing space within the home, or a conversion of a garage into an ADU. Accessory dwellings are independent housing units that have their own kitchens, bathrooms, living areas, and entrances.  The property owner must reside either in the primary or accessory dwelling unit.  

In advance of the upcoming workshop, the Affordable Housing Committee is asking the public’s help in completing a very short survey to better gauge awareness and interest in accessory apartments.  The survey, posted here, should only take a few minutes, but will be extremely helpful in guiding the Committee’s work.

“The Town is committed to providing a range of sensible housing options to meet our current and future housing needs.  I encourage Fairfield residents interested in learning more about accessory apartments to complete the survey and attend this important workshop,” commented First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick.

Accessory dwelling units have been on the rise in recent years, including in Fairfield. ADUs are growing at a rate of 9% or 100,000 per year, according to a 2021 study by Porch.com, a home improvement site.  Porch.com also found that properties with an ADU are highly sought after.  A home with an ADU is priced 35% higher, on average, than a home without one, according to Porch.com.  There are presently more than 250 legal accessory apartments in Fairfield alone.

While Fairfield has long permitted accessory apartments, the Town’s Affordable Housing Committee, in conjunction with Fairfield Senior Advocates and FairPlan, successfully sought changes this past year to the Town’s zoning regulations to allow ADUs to be incorporated into new construction and as detached structures in certain parts of Town.  Since the latest regulations were enacted in 2022, the Town has approved twelve new accessory dwelling unit applications.

“It’s important that we provide options to allow elderly residents to stay in their own homes and continue to live independent and productive lives.  Accessory apartments are but one way in which we can enable them to do so,” remarked Bob Ellwanger of Fairfield Senior Advocates.  
Urb Leimkuhler, Chairman of the Town’s Affordable Housing Committee, added, “Accessory apartments are smart housing, in that they better leverage our existing housing stock and do so in a way that is sensitive to existing neighborhoods.”  He noted that accessory apartments can provide much-needed housing options for not just seniors, but millennials and GenZers as well.  “Our mission, as the Town’s Affordable Housing Committee, is to promote a wide range of housing choices for households of all incomes and ages in Fairfield, and accessory apartments are an important component of our overall housing strategy,” Mr. Leimkuhler concluded.

While the event is being held free of charge, participants are asked to pre-register using this link.

ADU Example