The subject of “granny flats” was discussed at length at an April 10 meeting of Peters council.
The Falcione family of Springdale Road is requesting a variance from the township’s zoning board to construct a “granny flat” also known as ECHO housing which stands for “elder cottage housing opportunity” for an elderly member of their family.
The township’s current ordinance does not allow for such structures, planning director Ed Zuk said. Peters does not allow for occupancy of an accessory building, which a “granny flat” would be considered.
The Falciones want to construct a small structure on their nearly three-acre property.
“We told them the only way that this can be approved is through a variance,” Mr. Zuk said. He added that the family was very up front stating it would be used for a mother-in-law and that when she is no longer using it, they cannot rent it.
Council member David Ball said he was familiar with “granny flats” and said that it is a less costly alternative to building an addition on one’s house.
“These small houses, which are a variant of what you may have seen called tiny homes or tiny houses, they generally run around 500 square feet,” and are often semi-permanent so when they are done being used, they can be taken away or repurposed.
Council member Monica Merrell said that although it is something that people are looking for, it could pose a problem on smaller lots.
“In a situation where you have three acres, it might not be a problem for anybody,” Ms. Merrell said. She added that on half-acre lots, it could be a problem for the neighbors.
Council member Frank Kosir agreed: “I can’t imagine any situation where you’re living in a single-family residential subdivision with half-acre lots where the next door neighbor’s going to be excited to see one of these plop down.”
He agreed that a request for a variance was appropriate and said it would be best to let the zoning board look at these types of structures on a case-by-case basis.
The matter is on the agenda for the zoning hearing board’s April 18 meeting.
Deana Carpenter, freelance writer: email@example.com.