Board of Supervisors

Raymond E. Graham, Chairman, Cedar Run District Supervisor


November 10, 2005

Staff Lead:



W. Todd Benson, Assistant Zoning Administrator


Community Development



A Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment to Section 5-105 to Change the Square Footage of Accessory Family Dwelling Units and to Expand the Number of People that Can Dwell Therein


Topic Description:


An accessory family dwelling unit is limited currently to 1,200 square feet and only may be occupied by three family members related to the owner.  The original Board of Supervisors text amendment proposed and referred to the Planning Commission would have increased the square footage to 1,600 square feet, not limit the amount of immediate family members who may occupy the accessory structure, and further allow the owner to live in the accessory structure and the relatives to live in the main house. The Board’s proposal transmitted to the Planning Commission for public hearing and recommendation is included as an attachment.


The Planning Commission has recommended refinements to that referred draft.  The proposed refinements are that such structures generally be smaller than what is currently allowed and that the allowed residents be increased from three to four (refer to the proposed and attached Ordinance).


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors


Conduct a public hearing and consider adoption of either the attached the Board of Supervisors revised Ordinance option, or the Planning Commission recommended Ordinance option. 

Financial Impact Analysis:

No financial impact analysis has been conducted.


Summary Staff Report:


At present, owners may build a second home on their property for use by family members. The Board of Supervisors proposed text amendment would: (1) increase the size of the second home from 1,200 square feet to 1,600 square feet; (2) allow the owner to occupy the smaller second house while permitting a close family member to reside in the principal structure; (3) remove the current occupancy cap (3 people) for use of the second home; eliminate the prohibition on charging rent for the second unit during the first two years (an owner may want or need to charge his family member rent); and (4) extend the period in which immediate family must occupy the second house from two to five years.  A copy of the amendment initiated by the Board of Supervisors is attached.


The Planning Commission was troubled by the increase in size of the house to 1,600 square feet.  It believes that a second home should clearly be subordinate to the existing home.  Accordingly, the Planning Commission recommends that the size of the accessory family dwelling be limited as follows:  “Such a unit shall contain no more than 1200 square feet of gross floor area. may be 600 square feet in gross floor area or 25 % of the gross floor area of the existing house, whichever is larger, but in no circumstance may the family dwelling unit exceed 1,200 square feet of gross floor area.”


The Planning Commission also was concerned by unlimited occupancy of the family dwelling unit.  It recommends that the occupancy be increased to four.


Finally, the Planning Commission believes that family occupancy should be similar to family subdivisions and have a ten year holding period before it can be used as a rental unit.


This matter was initiated by the Board of Supervisors on July 14, 2005. The Planning Commission held a work session on this issue on September 27, 2005 and public hearings on August 25, 2005 and September 29, 2005.  By a vote of 4 – 1, the Planning Commission recommended approval in the form represented in the proposed Ordinance.

Identify any other Departments, Organizations or Individuals that would be affected by this request:

Department of Economic Development



1.      Proposed Text Amendment (Board of Supervisors Revision – Option)

2.      Proposed Text Amendment (Planning Commission – Option)

3.      Proposed Amendment Recommended by Board of Supervisors (July 14, 2005 Option)