Granny pods? Not state’s way, zoners say

Granny pods — or mother-in-law cottages — are welcome in Ridgefield, but the Planning and Zoning Commission wants them to fall under the purview of town regulations as opposed to state law.

After acknowledging concerns raised by affordable housing advocate Dave Goldenberg, the commission backed having the town opt out of the state law that allows “temporary health care structures.”

Under the recently passed state statute, the ‘opt out’ will have to be enacted by the Board of Selectmen and town meeting.

“I’d think this is something you’d want to embrace,” Goldenberg said at a public hearing on the issue Tuesday, Sept. 26. “They call them ‘granny pods.’ These are very nice modular units that have to live up to code.”

People with parents in need of medical care buy one for $60,000, and install it for $10,000, Goldenberg said.

“They are an economical alternative that let people live near — not with — their family,” he said.

Commissioners insisted a granny pod would be permitted under the town’s accessory apartment regulation, which now only requires a site plan approval in the town planning office — with Health Department approval of septic system’s capacity the main potential snag.