Be Our Guest For homeowners, adding an accessory dwelling opens the door to living options
THE DETACHED FOUR-CAR garage wasn’t what attracted Rick and Pavy Bacon to the Silver Spring home they purchased 10 years ago. In fact, they didn’t even own a car at the time. “We had a scooter,” Pavy says. What sold them was the charming bungalow style architecture of the home, a neighborhood that was near public transportation and not far from the District, and good schools for the children they hoped to have. Over the years, the Bacons always thought the garage would be more useful if they converted it into an apartment rather than using it as a storage shed. So they were thrilled when the Montgomery County Council unanimously approved a zoning amendment in 2019 to ease restrictions on accessory dwelling units (ADUs). Last summer, the Bacons got a permit to convert the detached garage on their quarter-acre lot. They hired Eric Saul of Saul Architects in Takoma Park to design an in-law apartment for Pavy’s parents, who live in Wheaton after relocating from Singapore to help with the couple’s two young children and be
a part of their daily lives. “I think it’s the perfect solution for aging in place,” says Pavy, who is looking forward to having her parents living just across the backyard, where her kids can visit anytime, once the construction is finished this summer. “It’s a mutually beneficial relationship, and it also makes good financial sense for all of us,” she says. Secondar y dwellings— whether they’re called a granny flat, an in-law suite, or a guest cottage—on the same parcel as a single-family home are nothing new. Montgomery County has long allowed licensed rental units (living quarters with a bathroom, full kitchen and a separate entrance) inside of homes; most are basement apartments. Detached living quarters, however, were only permitted on residential lots larger than 1 acre. The zoning ordinance changes, which went into effect on Dec. 31, 2019, removed several of the old constraints, including limits on the number of ADUs allowed per neighborhood, and streamlined the permitting process. One of the major shifts was eliminating the
Rick and Pavy Bacon are converting the detached garage behind their Silver Spring home into a secondary dwelling where Pavy’s parents will live.
PHOTO BY MICHAEL VENTURA
BY CAROLYN WEBER
MAY/JUNE 2021 | BETHESDAMAGAZINE.COM
4/13/21 8:53 AM