(July 27, 2018) In Worcester County, homeowners may utilize the zoning use called the Accessory Structure to gain additional living quarters.
The purpose is to allow no more than one accessory apartment per lot of record through conversion of existing residential structures or construction of new residential facilities. The intent behind this use is to provide the opportunity and encouragement to meet the special housing needs of persons of low and moderate income as well as relatives of families currently residing in the county.
The county’s website also states that the intent and purpose of this provision is to allow the more efficient use of the county’s existing housing stock in a manner consistent with land use objectives identified in the Worcester County Comprehensive Plan and to provide economic support for present resident families of limited income, while protecting and preserving property values and community character.
There are standards associated with this use, and a sampling of those include:
1. Accessory apartments shall only be permitted where adequate wastewater disposal capacity has been determined to be available by the Environmental Programs Division but, as accessory residential uses, shall not be counted against permitted density on any parcel.
2. The owner of the residential dwelling unit in which the accessory apartment is to be located shall occupy at least one of the dwelling units on the premises.
3. An accessory apartment may be located either in the principal dwelling unit or in an accessory building.
4. The minimum floor area for an accessory apartment within the principal building shall be 500 square feet, but in no case shall it exceed 35 percent of the gross floor area, exclusive of any garage, of the dwelling in which it is located or 900 square feet, whichever is less.
5. No accessory apartment shall contain more than two bedrooms.
6. There shall be no more than one accessory apartment permitted per single-family dwelling.
The full list of county requirements for accessory structures can be viewed online at www.co.worcester.md.us.
— Lauren Bunting is a licensed Associate Broker with Bunting Realty, Inc. in Berlin.