Knightdale votes to re-regulate cottages, garages

aspecht@newsobserver.comMay 28, 2013 

— Town Council, at its most recent meeting, voted to change Knightdale’s regulations on secondary dwellings such as cottages and garage spaces.

On May 15, Knightdale unanimously voted to prohibit secondary dwelling units town-wide except through special use permits in areas where increased density isn’t a concern.

Previously, Knightdale allowed residents to build secondary dwellings so long as they were only used by the homeowner. (The idea was to prevent homeowners from renting out secondary dwellings, thereby creating density issues 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. To comply with the new law, Knightdale staff advised Town Council at its May 6 meeting to revise its rules on secondary dwellings.

Prior to Town Council’s vote, the Land Use Review Board – a Knightdale committee comprised of town council members, town staff, and citizens – voted 4-2 in support of the new ordinance. According to Senior Planner Jeff Triezenberg, LURB dissenters wanted to continue allowing secondary dwelling units because they often serve as a form of affordable housing.

Knightdale Mayor Russell Killen said the town may re-examine its secondary dwelling ordinance in the future, when the town’s authority to regulate housing is more certain. House Bill 150, which recently passed the House and is on its way through the Senate, would strip local governments of the ability to regulate housing based on design or appearance.

If HB 150 were to become law while Knightdale still allowed secondary dwellings, the town would then be unable to prevent the construction of unsightly structures, Killen said. By requiring special use permits for secondary dwellings, Knightdale retains some say in the construction of secondary dwellings.

“(HB 150) would aggravate this problem if we don’t address this issue now,” Killen said. “I say we take this action now and see how things play out.”

Specht: 919-829-4826

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