Accessory Apartments

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Accessory Apartments

Town Council has approved an amendment to the town’s Zoning Ordinance allowing accessory apartments with single family homes in certain zoning districts. The accessory apartment is also sometimes referred to as a granny flat, in-law apartment, basement apartment, garage apartment or carriage house. The ordinance to allow accessory apartments became effective July 1, 2017.  The application can be found below.

Application for Accessory Dwelling (153kb pdf)


Accessory apartments had not been allowed in town since the 1970s. There are existing apartments in town that were created when the use was allowed and those are referred to as lawful non-conforming accessory apartments and can continue to be rented. To determine if your apartment is a lawful non-conforming accessory apartment please contact the Planning and Building Department at 540-443-1300.

This new Accessory Apartment program does not apply to the existing non-conforming apartments. The new program applies to new accessory apartments. Many communities, including Blacksburg, are now allowing accessory apartments as a way to make homes more affordable for both the owner and the renter, to give more options for aging-in-place, and to provide more variety in housing types in the community

There are a number of requirements to have an accessory apartment. One of the strongest components of the program is the requirement for owner residency. Typically, having the owner live on-site addresses potential lifestyle conflicts and helps integrate the unit as part of the neighborhood fabric. The use is limited to single family zoning districts. There are other standards in the new program that relate to length of owner residency, size of apartment, number of occupants, and safety requirements. The new regulations also address the relationship to the underlying zoning district standards for height, lot coverage, setbacks and floor area ratio.

The ordinance adopting this new program can be found below:



Ordinance 1816 (446kb pdf)

Accessory Apartments Staff Report and Staff Memos (603kb pdf)

Accessory Apartments Public Input (619kb pdf)

Accessory Apartments Planning Commission memo (30kb pdf)

Accessory Apartments cover memo (42kb pdf)

Accessory Apartments Comparison Chart (127kb pdf)

3-3-17 Planning Commission update cover memo (89kb pdf)

Ordinance 1816 2-7-17 (474kb pdf)

Planning Commission cover memo 2-7-17 (78.5kb pdf)

Memo from Elisabeth Willis (Staff) 2-2-17 (38.5kb pdf)

Public input meeting sign in sheet 1-25-17 (54.7kb pdf)

Public input meeting summary notes 1-25-17 (42.3kb pdf)

Accessory Apartment staff memo dated  1-12-17 (255kb pdf)

Accessory Apartment draft text of regulations dated  1-12-17 (418kb pdf)

Accessory Apartment summary recommendations from Zoning Review Committee (101kb pdf)

Accessory Apartment summary recommendations from Housing and Community Development Advisory Board (82kb pdf)

Accessory Apartment comparison chart of standard from other communities (131kb pdf)

Accessory Apartment notes from previous input meetings on topic (prior to drafting of the program regulations) (262kb pdf)


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