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Elizabeth, Other/Just Looking in Massachusetts

I live in Massachusetts and own a legal two family home. I am renting the two upstairs units, but here is a

Asked by Elizabeth, Massachusetts Tue Sep 23, 2008

full basement that I would like to use occasionaly (it is near the beach) so it would only be on weekends in the summer and maybe a week during the summer. Due to parking I cannot turn it into a legal three family, but that is the only issue. Can I convert the basement apt for my own use?

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Hi Elizabeth- I'm not an attorney and not on the zoning board anywhere- but a few practical thoughts-
1. Is it a private septic system? If so, you likely couldn't add any bedrooms anyways. If its town sewer, that alleviates that worry.
2. Can you pull a permit to merely "expand" one of the existing apt. units? Adding a bedroom, living room, and a full bath in the basement isn't necessarily illegal. Adding a kitchen/ kitchenette- well, maybe.

All that said, the other answers below I would agree with in general. Towns do not officially want to set a precendent by allowing you to bend the laws a little bit. You can bet that others will find out and be asking why they cannot do it as well- and that is the worst case scenario for the Town's workers and boards.
Thanks, and good luck,

Ken L.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 15, 2009
A visit to the Town Hall is your best bet...get the information first hand and in also in writing to back it up. Town Hall will advise you on what is allowed and how to go about the project properly in regards to permits and their legal requirements. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 15, 2009
Hi Elizabeth, without knowing any specifics of your zoning code but being involved with zoning issues as a part of my job I would say that you would have a tough time getting anything legally approved by the city or town where the property stands. Good luck, Jon
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 24, 2008

The best source for accurate information for you question is to talk with someone in your zoning department. Additionally, if you obtain favorable information....get it in writing.

Good luck,
The "Eckler team"
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 23, 2008
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