Where Cities and Towns are in the Opt-Out Process

All of the six communities in southwest Connecticut are either opting out or at least discussing opting out of a state law regulating accessory dwelling units. See what's happening in your community.

Where Cities and Towns are in the Opt-Out Process
A look at types of accessory dwelling units from a presentation to the Darien Planning and Zoning Commission. (Courtesy of Darien)

Municipalities that have opted out:

Westport: The Planning and Zoning Commission voted to opt out in March. In June, the Representative Town Meeting voted to opt out.

Fairfield: The Planning and Zoning Commission voted to opt out in March, followed by the Representative Town Meeting vote in May. The town has allowed accessory apartments since 1986, according to a letter from the town’s Planning Director Jim Wendt and 170 have been built.

Municipalities that have officially started the opt out process:

Greenwich: The Planning and Zoning Commission has begun the opt out process, with a public hearing scheduled on August 5th before the Representative Town Meeting, the town’s legislative body, votes on the issue in September. Katie DeLuca, Greenwich’s ​​director of planning and zoning, has asked the Board of Selectmen to endorse the opt out—an unnecessary step under the law, but one that would show the town is on the same page. The board plans to hold a vote on that at its August meeting.

Norwalk: Norwalk’s Planning and Zoning Commission has officially opted out of the regulations. The Common Council’s Economic and Community Development Committee has reviewed the opt out resolution but is waiting until the commission adopts new ADU regulations before advancing the opt out to the full council.

Municipalities that are discussing opting out

Stamford: The Zoning Board has asked the Land Use Bureau to begin drafting local regulations around accessory dwelling units, since the units are not currently allowed in the city. The board will then compare the proposed local regulations with the ones in the state law, before deciding if they will adopt the local ones and opt out.

The Land Use and Urban Redevelopment Committee of the Board of Representatives approved a resolution on July 28, which endorses the moves by the Zoning Board.

“The 31st Board of Representatives supports the Zoning Board’s July 25 stated intentions of retaining local control and develop(ing) Stamford zoning regulations regarding ADUs and related parking stipulations,” the resolution reads. “It is further resolved that the 31st Board of Representatives supports the Zoning Board’s July 25 announcement that following adoption of its own ADU regulations the Zoning Board will consider opting out of Public Act 21-29.”

Darien: The Planning and Zoning Commission discussed opting out of the accessory dwelling unit regulations at its July 19 meeting and took a straw poll in which all of the commissioners said they would be in favor of opting out. A preliminary timeline proposed by the town’s staff calls for a public hearing on opting out on Sept. 6, with an official vote by commission coming later that month on Sept. 13. If the ⅔ of the commission votes to opt out, the matter will be referred to the necessary RTM committees with a potential vote by the full RTM in late October. The RTM - Planning Zoning & Housing Committee will be having a discussion related to  accessory dwelling units at its meeting on Thursday, August 4 at 7:30 p.m.