Planning departments in both jurisdictions want to follow many other places around the nation and allow homeowners to rent out a garage, base­ment or other space. This would create more diverse housing choices, make aging in place more affordable and help provide more customers for neighborhood businesses.

They have also attracted vociferous opposition. In Montgomery County, opponents packed some recent hearings to fight the proposal. In D.C., hearings haven’t come up yet, but posts on local listservs have been rallying residents to organize against the change.

Some residents have been meeting with D.C. council members, including Michael Brown, who sent out a letter opposing accessory dwellings after a meeting with “Neighbors for Neighborhoods.”

Much of the opposition is driven by fears of neighborhoods become predominantly filled with renters. But there are protections against this. The homeowner still has to live in the house to create an accessory dwelling. They can’t create an accessory unit and then rent out the main house at the same time while living elsewhere. There are also limits on how big such an accessory dwelling can be, and there can’t be more than one on a property.

[Continue reading David Alpert’s post at Greater Greater Washington.]

David Alpert is founder and editor of Greater Greater Washington. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.