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Government Letters to the Editor Reader Contributed

Letter: Contra Merritt – Accessory Dwelling Units a Strong Policy Proposal

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To the Editor,

Reading Mr. Merritt’s recent op-ed against Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), it strikes me as one of life’s delicious ironies to hear the guardians against big government in the Republican party argue for more regulations on what an individual may do with their own property. But, here we are, with Mr. Merritt cheering for increased regulatory burden on homeowners. While Mr. Merritt would like you to believe that allowing ADUs is a grave policy mistake, it is in fact a commonsense and inexpensive way for our town to ensure housing flexibility and affordability.

Eighty-four other Connecticut towns allow for ADUs – including our neighbors in Simsbury, Farmington, and Glastonbury. All have been able to successfully integrate this type of housing into the fabric of their towns. And while I am still a staunch West Hartford partisan, I daresay they all remain charming communities. It would seem commonsense then to follow the experience of our neighbors.

Strains on services introduced by ADUs are incremental and relatively easy to absorb. This is in stark contrast when compared to building large apartment complexes. They require major upgrades to town infrastructure such as sewers, power, and surface roads, which are then expensively maintained out of our tax dollars. An additional resident or two in a new ADU hardly requires the same level of concentrated infrastructure investment, or ongoing maintenance budget.

ADUs are a good policy choice, and research has shown that with this type of housing:

  1. Homeowners can create new income streams
  2. Allows for multi-generational housing – creating opportunities for seniors to “age in place” with the aid of family (which is why the AARP supports these type of polices)
  3. Increases flexibility for homeowners – as a family grows, ADUs can shift from an income stream to more much needed space, and then back again as children move out
  4. Creates a free market solution to housing affordability – Housing demand? Meet my friend supply, I’m sure you two will get along swimmingly. It’s nice when you can finally put that Econ 101 material to good use

If our goal is to help make our town a strong, affordable, and desirable place to live, the Council should continue to endeavor to enact good housing policy like this.

Sincerely,

Andrew Tourigny
West Hartford

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