Community Issues - Special Laws

Bill 49-11, Accessory Apartments

Sponsors: Olszewski, Oliver, Bevins

Allows accessory apartments within principal, residential building or in a separate building on same lot.

This was intended to override a court decision against just such an apartment in the Cockeysville area in which citizens had prevailed in getting an order to cease use of one for a college-student. See 1st Balt Sun article (which incorrectly reported that the Council would "vote" on the measure the next day) and 2nd Balt Sun article.

The intended beneficiary property was not in the district of any of the Bill's sponsors.

Time line (Case 2008-0471, 1109 Justa Ln, and this Bill):

  • 8 Mar 2007, Building permit issued for garage with hand sink
  • 26 Oct 2007, Complaint filed for "Shed being used as dwelling"
  • 15 Jan 2008, Complaint filed for "Bldg on property being rented"
  • 9 Apr 2008, petition for Special Hearing
  • 16 June 2008, Zoning hearing held
  • 10 July 2008, Order denying relief
  • 10 Feb 2009, Board of Appeals hearing
  • 27 Feb 2009, Complaint filed for "Converting detached garage into living spaces"
  • 18 May 2009, BoA Order denying relief
  • 15 Mar 2010, Order of Circuit Court reversing BoA denial (mistakenly based this decision on saying that "there is nothing in the BCZR that specifically prohibits a person from living in an accessary structure" - but that's not how the BCZR works!)
  • 1 and 12 Apr 2011 appeal heard
  • 19 Aug 2011, COSA issued unreported decision reversing Circuit Court and (re)affirming BoA decision denying relief. (The decision was certainly known to, or expected by, the parties somewhat before 19 Aug.)
  • 1 Aug 2011, Bill 49-11 introduced (again, shows how quickly some lawyers can get the County Council to help with a case that they are losing!)
  • 6 Sept 2011, Bill 49-11 passed, retroactive to requests filed after August 1, 2010
  • 19 Dec 2011, Court of Appeals denied petition for writ of certiorari (to hear case)

Thus, the case ended up with the community winning in court by the use being declared illegal, then to have the code changed to make it legal. But that still required a (new) Special Exception Hearing (according to the People's Counsel office), which never occurred. Another sleight-of-hand!

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Updated 11 Nov 2019 by MAP