The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners are considering placing a moratorium on accessory apartments while the related ordinance is revised. However before doing so, County Planning and Zoning Administrator Kevin Hathaway needs to draft the moratorium and hold a public hearing.

Hathaway introduced the idea during the Nov. 26 meeting, explaining that people have taken advantage of the accessory apartments.

“It has become more of an issue lately,” he said.

Hathaway said originally the accessory apartment was a part of the existing structure—which was not problematic, but it has now become a conflict with the county’s ordinance in an R1 zone.

“You have a lot people that might have a 3,000 or 4,000 square-foot home that can build half that size in accessory apartments,” he said. “That’s a pretty substantial home in an R1 zone— basically you have two homes in an R1 zone.”

The second issue he addressed was after the family member who was living in the accessory apartment moves out, people have begun renting it out which the county allows.

“But that’s the problem, if somebody came and said ‘I want to build a home and another smaller home in an R1 zone,’ we’d say ‘no you can’t do that,’” Hathaway said. “I think it creates a problem.”

Because of this, he suggested that they modify the ordinance to restrict accessory apartments to be a part of the existing structure and not a separate building.

“It may have separate living quarters but I don’t think that would create potential problems,” he said.

While he and Planning and Zoning Attorney Paul Ziel work to modify the ordinance, Hathaway requested that the commissioners place a moratorium on any further accessory apartments.

Commissioners Brian Farnsworth and Scott Hancock didn’t indicate one way or another if they are in favor of, or opposed to placing a moratorium on the apartments. County Attorney Weston Davis indicated that if they did say where they stand on the matter, they wouldn’t be able to vote on it at a later meeting.

“Draft us up something so we can see it,” Hancock said.

A date for the public hearing has yet to be determined.

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