Town Council has approved an amendment to the town’s Zoning Ordinance allowing accessory apartments with single family homes. The accessory apartment is also referred to as a granny flat, in-law apartment, basement apartment, garage apartment or carriage house.
Accessory apartments have not been allowed in town since the 1970s. There are existing apartments in town that were created when the use was allowed and those are referred to as lawful non-conforming accessory apartments and can continue to be rented. This program would not apply to the existing non-conforming apartments. The new program would apply to new accessory apartments. The application will be available online June 15. The ordinance will be effective July 1, 2017.
The reason that the regulations changed in the 1970s included concerns about over occupancy, parking problems and the impact on neighborhood character. Many communities around the country are now reconsidering and allowing accessory apartments as a way to make homes more affordability in Blacksburg for both the owner and the renter, give more options for aging-in-place, and provide variety in housing types in the community. Town staff is working on a proposed program to allow accessory apartments with certain requirements. One of the strongest components of the program being considered is the requirement for owner residency. Typically, having the owner live on-site addresses potential lifestyle conflicts and helps integrate the unit as part of the neighborhood fabric. The use is proposed to be limited to single family zoning districts. There are other standards proposed in the new program that relate to owner residency, size of apartment, number of occupants, parking, and safety requirements. The regulation also address the relationship to the underlying zoning district standards for height, lot coverage, setbacks and floor area ratio.
Ordinance 1816 (273kb pdf)
Accessory Apartments Public Input (619kb pdf)
Accessory Apartments cover memo (42kb pdf)
Accessory Apartments Comparison Chart (127kb pdf)
3-3-17 Planning Commission update cover memo (89kb pdf)
Ordinance 1816 2-7-17 (474kb pdf)
Planning Commission cover memo 2-7-17 (78.5kb pdf)
Memo from Elisabeth Willis (Staff) 2-2-17 (38.5kb pdf)
Public input meeting sign in sheet 1-25-17 (54.7kb pdf)
Public input meeting summary notes 1-25-17 (42.3kb pdf)
Accessory Apartment staff memo dated 1-12-17 (255kb pdf)