Tuesday, April 23, 2024

York Planning Commission Recommends Changes to Accessory Apartment Policy

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The York County Planning Commission recommended to approve a proposed change that would make it easier for people in residential areas to build accessory apartments.

Accessory apartments — separate living spaces on a parcel of land with an existing home — currently require a special-use permit if the apartment is more than 600 square feet or 25 percent of the floor area of the residence.

The York County Board of Supervisors tasked the Planning Commission with analyzing the process for acquiring permission to build accessory apartments on properties zoned residential in June.

The county looked at 15 years’ worth of special-use permit applications for accessory apartments and concluded that of the 33 applications received in those 15 years, all but one were approved.

The move to change the policy reached the Planning Commission on Wednesday night, when all six planners accepted staff recommendations to change the requirements to 800 feet or 35 percent of floor area. The policy change would also remove the $400 application fee associated with the special-use permit, as well as the time it takes to approve the application.

If the change is approved, the county would require administrative permits that would not have to go through the Planning Commission or Board of Supervisors. Zoning inspectors would also no longer have to visit the apartments for annual inspections.

Currently, accessory apartments are allowed without acquiring a special-use permit if they are under 600 square feet. A maximum of one bedroom is allowed, and only family members, guests, medical or health caretakers or domestic employees can occupy the apartment. Renting the apartment to the general public is prohibited.

Residents wishing to build accessory apartments greater than 600 square feet must be subject to a public hearing at Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors meetings.

No citizens spoke at the public hearing for this proposal Wednesday.

The decision to move forward was tabled by the Planning Commission in July. The recommendation will be reviewed by the Board of Supervisors on Sept. 16.

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