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Accessory apartments at issue in Walden

June 25th, 2013

In an attempt to provide some relief to seniors or young families struggling financially in Walden, the Village Board has been discussing a local law proposed by the Village Zoning Board that would allow accessory apartments.

At a recent meeting the proposal was again put before the board members, some of whom expressed doubts about the move.

According to ZBA chairperson Brenda Adams, the idea was to create a totally self-contained apartment with a kitchen, bathroom and separate entrance that would not take away from the look of the single-family home. The apartment was also not to exceed 750 square feet.

Building inspector Dean Stickles explained that the purpose was to allow older people to break the apartment off the house and live in the apartment while renting the rest of the house. He noted that they did not want to make any multi-family units in the process, so there would need to be restrictions on square footage without allowance for variances. Other requirements would include an annual renewal by the Planning Board and an annual fee, as well as a number of off-street parking spaces.

“We have a lot of apartments throughout the village now,” said Stickles, telling the board they needed to decide if with 923 apartments in the village, there was really a need for the proposed local law.

Deputy Mayor Susan Rumbold questioned how many properties in the village would even be able to meet the requirements.

“Are we making a law that no one will ever be able to use?” Trustee Gerald Mishk asked, noting that if the individuals applying are in financial distress, it was unlikely they could afford the required renovations.

“It has significant merit, but has some serious pitfalls right now,” said Trustee Sean Hoffman, adding that they needed to ask other municipalities that had passed a similar law whether it had unintentionally created multi-family properties.


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