Beverly Accessory Dwelling Unit Zoning


Accessory Dwelling Unit Zoning Update

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Beverly hosted a public forum on Accessory Dwelling Units on Thursday, March 24 at 7 p.m. online via Zoom. Participants weighed in on how Beverly should use ADUs in the future.

About the Project

The City of Beverly is working to encourage a greater diversity of housing options. As part of this larger effort, it is leading a public process to update its zoning ordinance (development regulations) for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), also known as accessory apartments, in-law units, or granny flats.  

Currently, Beverly’s zoning ordinance allows certain kinds of ADUs for family members or caretakers of residents in the primary home. This one-year project will examine and then recommend updates to the ADU zoning to better serve the community’s housing needs. Potential updates include removing the restrictions on who can live in an ADU to allow non-family members. 

The process will include robust community engagement, including public forums and focus groups, as well as research on best practices for ADUs and careful consideration of the local context in Beverly. In addition, the project includes the development of a new online, interactive tool to help the community and elected decision-makers understand the potential impacts of different approaches to regulating ADUs. The tool will help ensure a data-driven approach to the zoning update. 

Based on the community engagement, research, and findings from the on-line tool, the City will draft amendments to the existing ADU zoning ordinance and present the draft amendments for the City Council’s review and approval in Summer 2022. 

MAPC Contact

John Cruz, Senior Housing and Land Use Planner

Town Contact

Darlene Wynne, Director of Planning

Steering Committee

Sarah Bartley, Planning Board
Hannah Bolcome, At Large 
Marina Bueno, At Large 
Rich Dinkin, Affordable Housing Trus
Scott Houseman, Ward 4 City Councilor
Nikki Moore, At Large
Gary Moffie, General Contractor 
Rosa Ordaz, Harborlight Community Partners 

Frequently Asked Questions

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a secondary dwelling unit within the same lot as a larger primary dwelling unit. They are not a new concept, but strict single-family zoning requirements in the mid-twentieth century prohibited their use. Recently, they have become recognized as an important tool in a toolbox of strategies for addressing the housing crisis. 

There are a few different types of ADUs: they can be in repurposed space within the footprint of the primary dwelling unit, such as in the basement or above the garage; they can be in an addition to the primary dwelling unit; or they can be in a separate building, such as the garage or a new small building. The zoning can be crafted to allow or disallow any of these ADU types   


Living little

Metropolitan Area Planning Council, 2019

In partnership with Foxborough, Medfield, Medway, Sherborn, and Stoughton town planners, MAPC investigated ADUs as an option for increasing the supply of smaller homes. The report provides graphics of potential detached ADU designs, common barriers to building ADUs, and some case studies. Please see the link above for more.   

The ABCs of ADUs

AARP, 2019

As noted above, ADUs offer a strategy for helping seniors stay in their community as they age. Given this interest, AARP supports wider availability of ADUs as an affordable, accessible housing option. The ABCs of ADUs provides a visually-compelling guide to ADUs and their benefits.