Rhode Island weighs accessory dwellings to boost housing

(The Center Square) — Rhode Island lawmakers will revisit a plan to help property owners develop accessory dwelling units as part of a broader effort to boost housing production in the state. 

The proposal would give homeowners the right to develop accessory dwelling units within the existing footprint of their structures or on any lot larger than 20,000 square feet, as long as the design satisfies building code, size limits and infrastructure requirements.

The bill’s primary sponsor, state Rep. June Speakman, said the purpose of the bill is to encourage the development of rental units that are more affordable than many other apartments and provide opportunities for homeowners with extra space “to generate income that helps them maintain ownership of that property.”

“Our state has the lowest per-capita construction rate in the whole country,” Speakman, a Democrat and chairwoman of the House Commission on Housing Affordability, said in a statement.
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