An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is an additional residential building that occupies the same lot as a primary residence. ADUs can either be attached to the primary home—constructed as extensions or conversions of existing spaces like attics—or detached as independent structures, such as separate garages.
The Town's Select Board has as one of its Fiscal Year 2024 goals, to explore the feasibility of introducing the option for residents to create accessory dwelling units on their properties. Examining the potential to implement a bylaw related to ADUs is also referenced as a goal in both the Town's Housing Production Plan (2018) and Master Plan (2018).
Currently, the zoning bylaw of North Andover does not allow for accessory dwelling units. In certain Residential Zones, the Town does allow for family-suites. According to the bylaw, a family suite is a separate dwelling unit located within a single-family dwelling subordinate in size to the principal unit and separated from it in a manner which maintains the appearance of the building as a single-family dwelling. The size of the family suite is not to exceed 1,200 square feet or not more than 25% of the gross floor area of the principal unit, whichever is less. The family suite may only be occupied by brothers, sisters, maternal parents and grandparents, in-laws and/or children of the residing owners of the principal dwelling unit.
On October 18th, 2023, Governor Healey released a housing bond bill to address affordability and housing supply in Massachusetts. The Affordable Homes Act includes a provision which would mandate that communities in Massachusetts permit accessory dwelling units. Details on proposed ADU guidelines can be found on page 24 of Bill H.4138. It should be noted that these parameters are subject to change as the bill goes through the State legislative process. There is no guarantee that the bill will be passed, either in the near future or at all. Should the bill be approved, it is expected that the State will offer guidance on any implementation of any prospective bylaws.
Community Engagement / Input
Between October 2nd and October 17th, 2023, the Town of North Andover issued a survey to gather public feedback about ADUs. In total, the survey received 233 responses from the residents of North Andover. Participants were surveyed about their agreement level with statements concerning the benefits of ADUs and various hypothetical parameters. Additionally, they were presented with potential guidelines for accessory dwelling units, such as maximum size and parking requirements, and asked to indicate their preferences. The full results of the survey can be accessed online.
In addition to the survey, the Town has continued its ADU engagement efforts at public meetings. At the November 27th Select Board meeting, the board was presented with the results of the survey as well as information about a housing bill proposed by Governor Maura Healey. On December 13th, 2023, the Town held an in-person engagement session to continue the conversation around housing needs in North Andover and to inform the Town’s 2023-2028 Housing Production Plan. Alongside other housing-related topics, participants were given time to engage in small group discussions about accessory dwelling units and were encouraged to share feedback or ask questions regarding ADUs.
November 27, 2023 - Presentation to Select Board
Click here to view the slide deck that was presented to the Select Board on 11/27/2023