may allow home-owners to rent rooms
By Greg Boyles
March 20, 2009 | MENDON - In
a surprisingly short meeting last night the Planning
and Zoning Commission reviewed a proposed amendment
to the city zoning ordinance that would allow residents
to rent sections of their home to non-family members,
something that is currently prohibited in Mendon.
Chairman Burnis Skinner said he wishes to integrate
accessory dwelling units into the city ordinances to
allow families who are struggling in this economic down
turn the opportunity to use their property to generate
Accessory dwelling units are defined
as apartments within a home, and have not been allowed
"If we have families in our
community, for whatever reason, who may be having a
tough time making it in today's economy and they want
to rent out their basement - and it doesn't impact our
community - why can't they do that? I struggle with
that," Skinner said.
At January's Planning and Zoning
Commission meeting a couple asked the commission to
allow them to rent out their basement to another couple;
however, the commission shot them down. Skinner said
this is unnecessary, and he hopes to change it.
The proposed amendment would allow
10 accessory dwelling units throughout Mendon the first
year of its inception, and an undetermined number
most likely less the following year, Skinner said.
An argument against the amendment
is that by adding another family to a single dwelling,
it would increase the density, and use up precious water
and waste resources, Skinner said. Another position
against the proposition is that adding rental space
would increase crime in Mendon, and while Skinner said
this has happened in other areas in Cache Valley, he
is confident with proper planning, accessory dwelling
units will not be a problem.
"There is this belief that
once if there is accessory dwelling units there will
be a lot more crime, but I disagree," Skinner said.
However, even if the amendment does
pass, there is the possibility that the restrictions
on rental units could be so intense that no house in
Mendon could meet them, said Steve Sorensen, city commissioner.
All buildings in the state of Utah
fall under the IBC (International Building Code) which
lays out stipulations in which renters must meet, Sorensen
said. Certain codes, such as fire codes, would require
a thick layer of cement be placed between floors which
act as separate units in case of a fire. Most homes
do not come equipped with this, Sorensen said.
"If someone wants to do this,
they're going to spend a lot of money doing it," he
No official decision was made; however,
Skinner said he wants everyone in the council to give
the amendment deep thought. He also said it will be
necessary for Mendon to define what it means to be a
family, because under the current definition, anyone
who is not a relative cannot occupy space in a home.