ADUs can be freestanding residences on the same lot as a single-family home, or ADUs can be developed within existing buildings, such as in the case of a basement, a bonus room or the space above a garage. Making ADUs easier for homeowners to build could yield up to 1,000 new units in just a few years, when larger housing developments take 5, 10, or even 15 years to permit and build.
However, for years many towns on Cape Cod prohibited building ADUs. Governor Baker’s Housing Choice legislation made it easier for towns to pass updated bylaws to allow ADUs, and most towns have done so. The towns of Falmouth and Brewster have had promising success with early efforts to promote ADU construction after the new bylaws passed, with new permits approved for 21 and 26 ADUs respectively. That’s a significant number of new units added to town inventory quickly and at no cost to taxpayers.