New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)

Pros say Milford accessory dwelling rules won’t change market

- By Saul Flores

MILFORD — The city’s recent change to its accessory dwelling unit regulation­s will increase options, but not have a truly significan­t impact on the Milford market, according to local real estate experts.

An ADU is a housing unit built on the same lot as a larger main home.

Stephanie Ellison of Ellison Homes Real Estate said regulation­s minimized the effect — since these accessory apartments are mostly attached to larger homes that are owner-occupied homes most of the time — on an area desperate for more housing units.

“I don’t think ADUs will add enough apartments to impact the housing market in Milford,” Ellison added. “However, it will open a few more affordable opportunit­ies that may not have been an option in the past.”

Kevin Weirsman, owner of Total Realty Services, LLC., agreed, saying he does not expect recent changes in ADU regulation­s to have much of an overall effect on the real estate market.

“However, it may increase the number of options for people to be able to locate in Milford,” he said.

Ellison said all the restrictio­ns placed on the ADUs should ensure that neighborho­ods will remain the same as they are now.

“An owner-occupant will be concerned with the quality of the tenant they are committing to,” she said. “The apartments are not more than 800 square feet, which limits the number of occupants the apartment can accommodat­e.”

The change would allow owners to derive income from the ADU by renting it to someone who is not a relative. Milford also would limit ADUs to 800 square feet and require it to be attached to the main structure.

Ellison and Weirsman also agreed if someone creates an ADU in their home, it doesn’t necessaril­y make the home more valuable.

“If someone wants to own rental units, there are better investment opportunit­ies in multi-families in and around Milford,” said Ellison. “The ADU only adds value for the person that needs that use.”

Weirsman said the presence of an ADY “may decrease time on the market for homes with an ADU attached for buyers looking for that amenity for family members or to lease the space for some added income.”

Another city in Connecticu­t to modify its ADU regulation­s was Fairfield in 2022

However, there are some difference­s in the regulation­s. In Fairfield, the maximum ADU square footage is 1,500 or less, and the rules permit detached units in some circumstan­ces.

“We have close to 200 apartments in inventory,” said James Wendt, Fairfield planning director. “Our regulation­s require owner occupancy of either the main dwelling or the unit accessory unit. The non-owner-occupied unit may be rented, and our regulation­s require a minimum lease period of 60 days so as not to be a transient accommodat­ion.”

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