Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and North Stamford

The NSA Board urges Stamford to enact sensible regulations on ADUs – and “opt out” of provisions to cede local zoning control to the State

SUMMARY: A new State law, set to take effect in January, eliminates Stamford’s local zoning control over secondary rental apartments and new accessory buildings for almost all lots in North Stamford.

The NSA Board has serious concerns about the potential impacts to the environment, our water and septic systems, traffic, and an increase in population density that could forever change the character of North Stamford neighborhoods.

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About the new law

The NSA board has been monitoring a change in the zoning laws mandated in Hartford.

Public Act 21-29 is a recent law from the state that, among other zoning revisions, establishes default provisions that allow for single-family homeowners to build new additions, convert existing structures,  or build stand alone structures on their property to be used as ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) otherwise known as apartments. Connecticut municipalities can opt out of the state policy by Jan. 1, 2023, and establish their own regulations. Stamford zoning regulations presently do not permit ADU’s at all. 

As we know it, the  Stamford Zoning Board is in favor of opting out provided the Land Use Bureau  and Planning Board can draft an acceptable policy regarding ADU’s in Stamford. 

The current zoning draft includes the following for ADU’s:

  • Property owners must live in the house or in the ADU
  • ADU size is capped at 800 square feet
  • Apartments are restricted to lots of at least 1/4 acre or 11,000 square feet (one-acre lots contain 43,560 feet)
  • Occupancy of the ADU is limited to three people
  • Apartments cannot be used for short-term rentals (i.e., Airbnb)
  • ADU’s must have at least one off-street parking space other than the space used by the primary house occupants

How will this affect North Stamford?

While we maintain our position as one of cautious optimism, we see the following specific issues arising for North Stamford residents should ADU’s proliferate:

  • State law mandate for ADU’s overrides existing zoning and eliminates local control
  • Additional people equate to additional traffic, parking, noise, light, etc.
  • Additional people living in zones designed for single family residences will strain existing septic systems, water supply, and town services 
  • Unfortunately, correlations exist between increased population density and decline in quality of life, and the State regulations allow for a potential doubling of density in North Stamford

Our position on ADU’s is that Stamford should opt out of the state mandate, and develop local zoning regulations. In order to remain consistent with our objective of maintaining the character of our neighborhoods, we believe it is in the best interests of North Stamford  to tighten the existing zoning draft to address our specific concerns.

What can you do to help preserve North Stamford?

Please contact your local members of the Board of Reps, stressing that it’s important for them to vote for opting out. Ask them to address your concerns.

In addition, we encourage members to take the following actions:

Questions on this subject can be addressed to the North Stamford Association here.

The NSA Board