Accessory Residential Units (ARU) will be exempted from going through the often arduous planning application process if they are under 500 square feet and are within or attached to a single-family residence, thanks to a unanimous vote by the Ashland City Council Tuesday.
The council took the action to encourage home owners to create more rentals in a rental-lean local economy and to address the fact that Ashland has an abundance of single renters or very small families.
The change also allows Ashland to preserve the character of existing neighborhoods, according to Maria Harris, city planning manager, who explained the amendments to existing codes.
Also known as “granny flats” or “in-law units,” the ARUs are experiencing a boom, with Community Development Director Bill Molnar telling the council that 20 percent of current building applications are for ARUs, twice what it was last year. He noted the units rent for $750 to $800.
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