Block Island Times

Town inventories accessory apartments for compliance

Building inspector Tom Risom has spent the summer investigating the Section 513 accessory apartment situation on Block Island. These apartments are intended to provide year-round rental housing and seasonal rental housing for island workers. Under the current Zoning Ordinance, only one dwelling unit is allowed per property. 513s allow homeowners to build another dwelling unit on their property. Besides providing rental income for the homeowner, there is also a tax break if the 513 unit is restricted by deed for affordable housing.Currently, the housing board is responsible for administering the affordable housing component of 513 accessory apartments and is charged with determining eligibility, long-term monitoring, and certification of the tax abatement.
The housing board expressed to Risom its desire to be removed from a regulatory role, with Member Millie McGinnes agreeing to write a letter to the Planning Board to that effect, suggesting that the ordinance be revised with feedback and input from the Housing Board. Risom agreed, telling the board on August 10: “(Land Use Officer) Jenn Brady and I don’t think that is appropriate,” for the housing board to regulate 513s.It is a bit of a moot point, however, as no one has asked for the

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