East Hampton Hearing On Affordable Apartments Thursday


The East Hampton Town Board will hold a public hearing this Thursday, December 1, on the latest iterations of its proposed law to allow homeowners to create affordable rental apartments in detached structures.

The proposed law would allow homeowners to carve out a new apartment in a detached structure, like a garage, that could be rented on a year-round basis only.

The law is an adjunct to an existing law that allows homeowners to create affordable accessory apartments within an existing house. Few homeowners have taken advantage of the potential for rental income, and allowing detached structures to be used for the apartments is seen as a way to encourage participation and boost the affordable rental housing supply.

The law only allows for a maximum of 20 of the apartments to be created in each of the town’s five school districts. All affordable apartments must be occupied year-round and be the primary residence of the tenant. Rent will be limited according to an annual fair market rent rate set by the state.

The law allows a homeowner to occupy the accessory apartment and rent out the main house, though the rent charged must still conform to state-defined fair market rent.

The December 1 hearing, which will start at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall, will be the second hearing the Town Board has held on the proposal. After the first hearing the board sent the law back to the town attorney’s office to be reworked to meet some concerns raised about accessory structures increasing the intensity of the use on a property.

Among the changes, the law as now proposed would only allow accessory apartments to be created on lots of at least 40,000 square feet, or about 1 acre.

No more than four cars belonging to the property owner and tenant would be allowed on any property with an accessory apartment.

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