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Mayor and Council Approve Public Review of Regulations for Accessory Apartments and Dwelling Units

Short-Term Residential and Room Rentals Discussion to be Held Feb. 27

The Mayor and Council in January initiated a public review process for changing city code and the zoning ordinance related to accessory apartments and accessory dwelling units, or ADUs.

Accessory apartments are small dwelling units either located within or attached to a single-family detached residence, subject to certain criteria. The code as it stands allows such dwellings through a potentially lengthy approval process for a special exception from the Board of Appeals. Proposed code changes would allow approval by staff, subject to compliance with certain criteria, reducing processing time.

ADUs, defined as small dwellings within a detached accessory structure on a single-family lot, are not currently permitted in the city. The proposed code changes would allow approval of ADUs by staff, subject to certain criteria, as a conditional use. If approved, such units would be subject to the same inspection requirements as other rental units in the city.

If the Mayor and Council authorize the amendments following the review, they will be presented to the Planning Commission for a recommendation. The Mayor and Council will hold public hearings on the amendments before making a decision.

At their Feb. 27 meeting, the Mayor and Council will consider code changes to implement regulations for short-term residential rentals, as well as to regulate the rental of rooms within a residence.

The intent of the proposed changes are to clarify when short-term rentals, typically booked through services such as AirBnB and VRBO, are permitted. Proposed conditions include limitations on the number of days per year that a unit may be rented, as well as limitations on the amount of rental unit guests.

Should the regulations be adopted, landlords would be required to register units with the city and be subject to the city’s hotel tax. The city’s zoning ordinance allows up to two people to occupy a dwelling in addition to the resident family. This has been interpreted to permit up to two rooms to be rented to individuals who are not family members.

At present, there are no requirements related to safety inspections, or for such rentals to be subject to the city’s landlord-tenant ordinance. The proposed regulations would require that rental of rooms be licensed and subject to regular inspection, as the rental of residences are currently.

Draft versions of the city code and zoning ordinance amendments are available as part of the Mayor and Council agenda packet for the Jan. 23 meeting, and the Feb. 27 meeting, when posted, at

For more information, contact Jim Wasilak, zoning administrator, at 240-314-8211 or by email at [email protected].

Editor’s note: This article appeared in February’s “Rockville Reports,” with an incorrect headline. The Mayor and Council did not approve regulations in January, but set a date for public discussion.

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Rockville Reports is the official publication of the City of Rockville, published at City Hall, 111 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD 20850-2364.