Mackenzie Wright

October 6, 2023

Update on Accessory Dwelling Units

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FRAMINGHAM - Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are now permitted in the City of Framingham. The City Council approved the ordinance, with a vote of 10-1, which will allow residents to build ADUs on their properties.

It’s a decision that has taken years of effort, with City Councilor Michael Cannon leading the charge. He spoke during the Council’s meeting on October 3rd.

“This community and this Council- and all of the so many members of the elected boards, appointed boards- got together and found a way to fulfill the goal. The intent, which I think there is a lot of consensus on, to afford our families a little more freedom and flexibility to care for their loved ones.”

Councilor Cannon is referring to the reality many community members face- not being able to afford putting loved ones in nursing homes or other facilities- and opting instead to keep them in an ADU close by. So what is an ADU? According to the American Planning Association, “An ADU is a smaller, independent residential dwelling unit located on the same lot as a stand alone (i.e., detached) single-family home.” Another term often used to describe ADU’s is an “in-law apartment”.

City officials heard from countless family members who attended public hearings asking for the city to provide this option. Whether it be looking after elderly parents, or disabled adult children, ADU’s offer the opportunity for residents to keep loved ones close by, while still maintaining independence.

There has been opposition to ADUs for a number of reasons- ranging from the logistics of parking, to sizing and square footage. City Councilor Christine Long, who shared her personal experiences looking after her elderly parents, doesn’t believe ADU’s will be the end all be all solution for families.

“If this is truly for care for a family member, unless you're going to have somebody living in the other unit taking care of them, your own family member is not going to be able to take care of them if they are in a separate unit. If they are at risk to fall, at risk to have seizures. No one is going to be there to save them. So for those reasons, I can not support this ordinance.”

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