Nassau County adopts accessory dwelling regulations

Submitted by Adrienne Burke, Assistant Director
Nassau County Department of
Planning & Economic Opportunity
March 13, 2019 11:00 a.m.

On February 25, 2019, the Board of County Commissioners voted to approve changes to the County Land Development Code (LDC) to allow accessory dwellings County-wide.

The changes originated from a subcommittee of the County’s Affordable Housing Advisory Committee (AHAC), who were tasked with working on draft changes for the Code. Accessory dwellings are seen nationwide as a best practice for addressing affordable housing issues by introducing a smaller footprint housing option. Over a series of many meetings starting in Summer 2018, the subcommittee submitted proposed changes to the full AHAC. The changes then went to the County’s Planning and Zoning Board, who recommended approval, and ultimately the Board of County Commissioners.

Accessory dwellings are now allowed as a by-right use in any residentially-zoned zoning district in the County. The code changes do not supersede any homeowner’s association rules. Property owners interested in constructing an accessory dwelling must obtain building permits through the County Building Department.

An accessory dwelling is defined as a self-contained residential unit that is accessory to a single-family home and on the same parcel. An accessory dwelling unit has its own bathroom, kitchen facilities, living and sleeping areas, though it can share other features with the single-family home including the yard, parking, storage or laundry facilities. An accessory dwelling can be attached to the single family home or detached. The accessory dwelling cannot exceed 50% of the primary structure’s square footage, with a maximum 800 square foot footprint, and has a maximum 25’ height limit.

Under the LDC requirements, accessory dwellings may be utilized as guest houses for family members and friends or living space for caretakers. They may be used for rental property where the main home on the parcel carries an active homestead exemption through the County Property Appraiser’s office.

Additional standards for accessory dwellings can be found in LDC Section 28.15(K). These standards address parking, setbacks, architectural standards, ownership and utility or well/septic connection. RVs, mobile or manufactured homes, and storage sheds cannot be used as accessory dwellings.

The Affordable Housing Advisory Committee meets the third Wednesday of each month at 4pm in BOCC Chambers at 96135 Nassau Place. Meetings are open to the public. For more information, visit www.nassaucountyfl.com/housing. The LDC is available for review at www.municode.com.

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