The Town of Cape Elizabeth is set to consider changes to the town’s zoning ordinances to bring their codes into compliance with the affordable housing law, LD 2003, that was passed by the State Legislature last session.
The requirements of LD 2003 are slated to go into effect in 2024 as a result of a bill passed during this Legislative session, LD 1706, that amended the initial measure.
The meeting was initially scheduled for this past Monday, but it has since been moved to July 17th due to water damage in the town hall.
In the meeting materials published on the Town of Cape Elizabeth website is a 47-page document from Town Engineer Stephen Harding outlining the “feasibility” of constructing an affordable housing development “on the north end of the Town-owned Gull Crest
The report states that under the area’s current zoning, 78 dwelling units could be constructed, a figure which increases to 196 under the 2.5 times density bonus required by LD 2003 for affordable housing developments.
Should the town opt to rezone the district, Harding says that the baseline allowable density would increase to 346, which would result in as many as 866 units with the affordable housing density bonus.
Also on the agenda for the now-rescheduled meeting is a public hearing for “Proposed Amendments to Chapter 19 Zoning Ordinance to Comply with LD 2003.”
Several documents are attached to this agenda item, including a draft of the zoning ordinance amendments, the Ordinance Committee’s statement of findings, a memo from the Planning Board, and a memo from the Town Planner.
One of the proposed amendments to the zoning ordinance would change the rules surrounding accessory dwelling units (ADUs) such that they may be constructed so long as they are “located within, attached to or detached from a single family unit located on the same parcel of land” and at least 190 square feet. It also exempts ADUs from additional parking requirements.
It also would add a lengthy definition of “affordable housing” to Cape Elizabeth’s zoning ordinances.
The amendments also update the zoning ordinances to set the minimum parking requirements for affordable housing developments such that they would only need to provide 2 parking spots for every 3 units.
In addition to this, the amendments would implement the 2.5 times density bonus for affordable housing developments as is required by LD 2003.
Although the Town of Cape Elizabeth is required to update its ordinances to comply with the mandates outlined in LD 2003, it remains to be seen exactly how the town decides to incorporate these changes.