Singleton, Timberlake Bill to Support ADU Development Advances

TRENTON – In an effort to expand New Jersey’s housing supply, the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee advanced legislation sponsored by Senators Troy Singleton and Britnee Timberlake that would establish a framework for municipal zoning ordinances with regard to accessory dwelling units (ADUs).

“ADUs are gaining popularity across the country, in large part due to their role as an affordable housing option in an era characterized by high housing costs. Many rent out accessory units for additional income or to keep family members, such as elderly relatives, close while maintaining a separate living space,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington), Chair of the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee. “It is our hope that this legislation will assist owners, renters, and municipalities in the construction and regulation of this promising form of housing.”

ADUs, also commonly referred to as “in-law units” or “granny flats”, are generally built above a garage, in the basement, or in the backyard of a primary residence. They range in size, but are self-contained and include a bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom. They are widely recognized as a way to address rising demand for intergenerational living arrangements, offering benefits to both older and younger demographics who generally have less need for, and less ability to afford, the space offered by a full-size single-family residence.

“If a homeowner wants to turn their unused attic, basement, or garage space into an extra apartment, either as a way to supplement their income or support a family member, restrictive zoning regulations shouldn’t prevent them from doing so,” said Senator Timberlake (D-Essex). “ADUs represent much needed flexibility for families to make use of extra space, for relatives to live close to their families, and for residents to afford their own living space.”

The bill, S-2347, would permit accessory dwelling unit development on lots that contain a single-family dwelling as a permitted use as of right. The legislation would require the Department of Community Affairs to provide sample ordinances for municipalities to adopt, setting a comprehensive framework for the permittance and regulation of ADU development.

The bill was advanced in a 3-1 vote.