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Montville to hold public hearing Tuesday on accessory units

Montville — The town's Planning and Zoning Commission will hold public hearings on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Town Hall on accessory dwelling units and amendments to the town's 2021 Plan of Conservation and Development.

Although the town council approved the town's POCD at its Jan. 10 meeting, the commission still needs to approve the proposed amendments.

In regard to the accessory units, the commission will discuss and decide whether to opt out of Public Act 21-29, an act that changes requirements for accessory dwellings units throughout the state.

Accessory dwelling units, also referred to as accessory apartments, are small residential units attached or detached to a home. Public Act 21-29 would permit accessory apartments anywhere residential uses are permitted without a special permit or public hearing.

Housing advocates say the act prevents towns from enacting zoning regulations that discriminate on the basis of income source (including public assistance), income level, or "immutable characteristics" (other than age and disability).

The legislation went into effect Jan. 1 and municipalities can choose whether to "opt out" of the law before the same date next year. Opting out of the law requires a public hearing and a vote by the Planning and Zoning Commission and another vote by the Town Council. If municipalities opt out of Public Act 21-29, they can keep their existing regulations or change them.

Town Planning Director Liz Burdick said the commission is not opposed to accessory dwelling units but is likely to opt out to "thoughtfully and intentionally" draft regulations.

The Planning and Zoning Commission will also discuss various applications of development at their meeting, including the construction of a 10,700-square foot retail building on Route 32. The Tuesday meeting is open to the public. All persons in attendance must wear a face mask and remain 6 feet from others.

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