Mayor: Legalizing ADU’s benefits the city
So-called in-law apartments may soon be legal in the city. Last week the City Council held a public hearing on a proposed ordinance to legalize accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in Revere.
“Legalizing ADUs will allow eligible homeowners to have a smaller additional unit within the existing footprint of their home,” stated Mayor Brian Arrigo.
The ordinance will offer several benefits to the city, according to the mayor. “First, it will reflect the reality of numerous properties in our community that have so-called ‘in-law’ apartments,” stated Arrigo. “As these structures do not comply with current zoning, unsafe conditions persist. The ADU process will grant homeowners a path forward to complying with life safety codes without necessarily removing the entire structure.”
At the same time, the city’s naturally occurring affordable housing stock will increase without drastic changes to the neighborhoods, Arrigo stated.
“What it means, particularly for seniors, single parents, families with grown children, it will allow them to remain in their homes and obtain extra income,” said City Planner Frank Stringi. “It also provides a broader range of accessible and more affordable housing in the city.”
Stringi said the ordinance will only apply to existing owner-occupied, single-family homes. In single-family RA districts, the maximum size for the ADUs is capped at 600 square feet and one bedroom. In the RB districts, the maximum size for the ADUs would be 900 square feet and two bedrooms, according to Stringi.
“In the city, there are a number of single-family homes that have illegal apartments, or in-law apartments,” said Stringi. “This is an opportunity to make them safe, compliant with building codes and fire safety codes and allow the residents to have what they had, as long as they don’t change the character of that house.”
“This ordinance is an excellent one,” said local Attorney Gerry D’Ambrosio.
D’Ambrosio said it allows people who already have in-law apartments to legalize them by upgrading them. “We currently have in-law apartments that fall under the line, if you will, and not being inspected, they tend to be a little bit more unsafe,” he said. “This ordinance will allow homeowners to make the needed remedial measures to fix them and bring them above the line. The second thing that this ordinance will do is that it truly adds to the affordable housing stock in the City of Revere.”
Lor Holmes of the Revere Housing Coalition asked if there would be measures in place to prevent the ADUs from being used as short-term rentals, such as Airbnbs. Stringi said the intent of the ordinance is to have no Airbnbs and no boarders in the ADUs.
“This is needed; we have a lot of people in the city who come to us on a monthly basis trying to sell their homes, and because their grandmother owned it, they have to bring it up to code or the sale gets disrupted,” said Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe. “It causes a lot of issues and stress on families for a home that was built 30 or 40 years ago and they assumed it was a legal apartment.”