AARP says no to Peterborough housing grant

  • Peterborough did not receive a $15,000 AARP Community Challenge Grant that would have been used to propel plans to add accessory dwelling units (ADUs). —COURTESY OF AARP

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 5/26/2023 12:06:10 PM

The town of Peterborough did not secure a $15,000 AARP Community Challenge Grant, which would have been used to propel plans to build accessory dwelling units (ADUs).

Affordable Housing Committee members announced during Friday’s meeting that the town did not receive the grant, with some members saying they were surprised by the AARP’s response. 

“It’s disappointing, but (AARP) had a huge number of applications,” said committee member Stephanie Hurley, chair of the town’s Planning Board.

According to committee members, AARP received approximately 3,600 applications for the Community Challenge Grant. If Peterborough had secured the $15,000 grant, the town was planning on using it to host a design competition where local developers could submit plans to build ADUs for a selection committee to review in the fall and eventually implement. 

Under Peterborough’s zoning ordinance, an ADU is “a secondary residential living unit that is created within or is attached to a single-family dwelling or is within a detached structure on the same parcel as the single-family dwelling, is smaller than the principal single family dwelling unit, and that provides independent living facilities for one or more persons, including provisions for sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation on the same parcel of land as the principal dwelling unit it accompanies.” 

In addition, ADUs are allowed by right in all zoning districts that permit single-family dwellings and on parcels where only one existing, legally conforming single-family dwelling exists.

According to committee members, Peterborough does not have a law that regulates ADUs prices; homeowners have complete freedom to set prices for their ADUs. 

Despite not winning the grant, committee members said they plan to pursue other state and national grants in order to fulfill their future plans to host an ADU design competition. 

“The plan is to keep applying to grants for the competition,” said Hurley.

The committee will be hosting two free seminars on ADUs at the Peterborough Public Library on June 14 at 6 p.m. and June 17 at 10 a.m. Community members will have a chance to ask local developers questions related to the concept of an ADU, financing an ADU and the permitting process. 

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