Knightdale reviewing rules on secondary dwellings

aspecht@newsobserver.comMay 11, 2013 

— A recent court ruling has this town looking for new ways to regulate secondary dwellings such as cottages and garage spaces. Currently, Knightdale allows residents to build secondary dwellings – also known as accessory buildings – so long as they abide by certain architectural standards and are only used by the homeowner. The idea is to prevent homeowners from renting-out secondary dwellings in areas dominated by single-family homes.

However, a recent court order prohibits towns like Knightdale from regulating secondary dwellings based on who occupies them. So Knightdale staff advised Town Council at its May 6 meeting that it’s in the process of rewriting the ordinance.

“We’re rewriting it in a way that’s legally acceptable,” said Jeff Triezenberg, Knightdale senior planner. “We’re dropping the owner occupancy requirement, but scaling back the districts they’re allowed.”

When Knightdale’s planning board recommends changes to the ordinance and sends it before Town Council on May 15, the ordinance will likely prohibit secondary dwelling units anywhere outside of residential districts. The new ordinance wouldn’t apply to existing secondary dwellings, but would prevent them in the future.

Town staff may even amend the ordinance in the future, Triezenberg said, because Knightdale isn’t sure how the current draft will affect build-ons and suites.

Compared to other eastern Wake towns, Knightdale’s proposed ordinance is moderate.

Wendell’s secondary dwelling laws are less restrictive, allowing for renters to live in secondary dwellings spaces so long as the homeowner also lives on the property. Zebulon, too, regulates the architectural standards of secondary dwellings. But it requires property owners to acquire special use permits in order to use secondary dwellings as a residence.

Specht: 919-829-4826

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