Accessory Dwelling Unit Resources


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What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit?

An accessory dwelling unit (ADU), also known as an “accessory apartment”, “granny flat”, or “in-law apartment”, is a separate living space within a house or on the same property as an existing house.  As an independent living space, an ADU is self-contained, with its own kitchen or kitchenette, bathroom, and living/sleeping area.  These units aren’t legal unless they have been established through a permit process.

In accordance with Shelburne’s Zoning Bylaws, accessory apartments are a permitted use in all zoning districts except the Commerce & Industry Zoning District. Accessory Apartments are typically located within an existing, expanded, or new owner-occupied single-family dwelling or an existing, expanded, or new accessory structure.  ADU’s may contain not more than two bedrooms and consist of not more than 50 percent of the total habitable floor area of the original dwelling.

Why build an ADU? Here are what some Shelburne residents have said:

  • My husband and I are currently in the process of planning an addition onto our house. We plan to move into this new unit and then sell the property to one of our daughters and her family, and they will live in the main part of the house.
  • I built a small to moderate size home, 1600 square feet - it was right sized for my partner and me, our pets and guests.  A few years ago, my partner’s mom came to live with us. Now we find ourselves with no space left to live and work or have guests! We need to add additional space to accommodate our third adult with private space and bathing/toilet area. We would like a small and ideally separate home space for in-law accommodation.
  • I am planning to build a new home to accommodate our small family with more separation for privacy and am planning a carriage house for both some private space and as a small income stream to help with the mortgage payments.

Want to learn more?

AARP has Information on ADUs

  •      ABCs of ADUs – A Guide to Accessory Dwelling Units and How They Expand Housing Options for People of All Ages
  •     Accessory Dwelling Units – A Step by Step Guide to Design and Development