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Washington to hold public hearing on bylaws for accessory dwelling units, short-term rentals

Washington town Park

The town of Washington will hold a public hearing March 14 on proposed bylaws that would regulate accessory dwelling units and short-term rentals.

WASHINGTON — A public hearing of the Planning Board on March 14 will allow comments on two proposed bylaws: one for accessory units, the second regulating short-term rentals.

The accessory unit bylaw would allow owners to create accessory units that may be detached or attached to the main living unit. According to the proposed bylaw:

•The gross floor area of a detached accessory dwelling unit would be no larger than half of the floor area of the principal dwelling or 900 square feet, whichever is smaller.

•An addition or remodel to an original dwelling is permitted, provided that the accessory dwelling unit is clearly a subordinate part of the dwelling, with any addition not more than one-third of the floor area of the principal dwelling or 900 square feet, whichever is smaller (excluding unfinished attic and basement, garage, porch, patio).

•An existing accessory structure or portion thereof may be converted to an accessory dwelling unit as long as the converted portion is no larger than half the floor area of the principal dwelling or 900 square feet, whichever is smaller.

•Any existing accessory structure that is deemed nonconforming shall require a special permit.

The short-term rental bylaw would be subject to the Massachusetts state room occupancy excise tax as per Massachusetts General Law c. 64G, Section 3, which sets the rate at 5 percent. In addition:

•Up to two bedrooms in a dwelling unit may be rented year-round provided that the owner or tenant is occupying the dwelling unit at the time of the rental.

•An entire dwelling unit may be rented up to 150 days per calendar year.

•An entire dwelling unit may be rented for an additional 25 days (up to 175 days in total) per calendar year by special permit.

The hearing will take place at 7:15 p.m. in Town Hall, 8 Summit Hill Road.

Jane Kaufman is Community Voices Editor at The Berkshire Eagle. She can be reached at jkaufman@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6125.

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