BIDDEFORD — The Biddeford City Council granted final approval to an amended accessory dwelling unit ordinance in a unanimous vote on Tuesday.
The amended ordinance allows pre-existing, non-conforming, single-family dwellings not located in residential zones to have accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, in compliance with existing land development regulations.

The council adopted a new ADU ordinance on March 7, allowing for the creation of such units in residential zones, other than the Coastal-Residential, or CR, zone.

ADUs are defined by city ordinance as self-contained housing units incorporated within single-family dwellings or in separate buildings on the same lots as single-family homes. One ADU is permitted per residentially-zoned parcel except within the CR zone, as well as the Limited Residential and Resource Protection zones, which are laid over the CR zone.

But following initial council approval, city staff members found a loophole in the ordinance. As passed, pre-existing, nonconforming residential structures not located in residential zones wouldn’t be able to take advantage of ADU ordinance provisions.

City officials have said allowing for such units serves several purposes, including serving the needs of older homeowners, smaller households and persons with disabilities. ADUs, they say, provide older homeowners with a means of obtaining rental income, companionship, security and services, and to downsize, while allowing them to stay in their own homes.

Such units also reduce need for infrastructure expansion and, as a result, land consumption, according to city officials.
The intent of the ADU zoning ordinance is to regulate nonconforming lots, uses and structures, according to city documents, to allow for reasonable development of vacant, non-conforming lots and existing non-conforming structures.
The Planning Board unanimously recommended the amended version go back to the council following a public hearing in May, to the delight of city officials. The City Council granted initial approval of the measure unanimously on June 6.
— Staff Writer Alan Bennett can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 329 or [email protected]

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