Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Ordinance

Latest on the ADU Ordinance

Planning Department filed a Zoning Amendment to create an ADU Ordinance and other modifications in June 2023 with City Council. 

Joint Public Hearing with the City Council and Planning Board was held on September 5, 2023 at 8:00pm. City Council continued and closed the public hearing (the first one) on September 18, 2023. The Planning Board continued and closed their public hearing on October 3, 2023, making a recommendation to City Council.  [Click on the dates to view BevCam recordings of these meetings.]

City Council set a 2nd public hearing, to review amendments recommended by City staff and the Planning Board, for the November 20, 2023 regular meeting at 7:30pm. 

Relevant Documents: 

Major components of the proposed new ADU Ordinance include: 

  • Allowing ADUs by-right in most single-family residential districts.
  • Allowing both attached dwelling units and detached dwelling units. 
  • Removing the restrictions on who can live in an ADU to allow non-family members.
  • Requiring owner-occupancy of one of the two dwelling units and one off-site parking space per ADU. 
  • No affordability requirement.
  • Thoughtful unit dimensional requirements, including unit size, setback, and height. Zoning variances and expansion of non-conforming structures are not permitted in order to create an ADU.

About the Project

The City of Beverly is working to encourage a greater diversity of housing options, goals committed to in the Beverly Community Housing Plan (2016) and the Beverly Master Plan (2020). As part of this larger effort, the City created a public process to update its zoning ordinance (development regulations) for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), also known as accessory apartments, in-law units, or granny flats.  

Currently, Beverly’s zoning ordinance allows certain kinds of ADUs for family members or caretakers of residents in the primary home. The one-year project (2021-22) to update the ADU Ordinance was supported by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) - Beverly's regional planning agency. Together with the steering committee at right, we examined and then recommended updates to the ADU zoning to better serve the community’s housing needs. Potential updates include removing the restrictions on who can live in an ADU to allow non-family members. 

The process included robust community engagement, including public forums and focus groups, as well as research on best practices for ADUs and careful consideration of the local context in Beverly. In addition, the project included the development of a data tool to help the understand the potential impacts of different approaches to regulating ADUs. The tool will help ensure a data-driven approach to the zoning update. 

Based on the community engagement, research, and findings from the on-line tool, the City drafted amendments to the existing ADU zoning ordinance and will present the draft amendments for the City Council’s review and approval.

ADU Examples_Jonathan Berk

Draft Materials

DRAFT Proposed ADU Ordinance

Maps from Data Tool

These maps illustrate which parcels may be eligible for an ADU unit based on the initial data analysis conducted by MAPC in March 2022. This may not align with the final ordinance proposed or adopted and anyone considering an ADU shall look to the Ordinance for the final language. 

Output Map - Fits a new accessory building

Output Map - Fits in an existing principal building

Output Map - Fits in an existing accessory building

Output Map - Fits in an addition to an existing building

Output Map - All Categories


Click here to access the MAPC Project Page and the FAQs posted there. 

Upcoming Meetings

Public Hearing on ADU Zoning Amendments - revised
November 20, 2023 at 7:30pm
within the City Council meeting
City Council Chambers
191 Cabot Street, 3rd Floor


May 2, 2023 - The Planning Department hosted a public meeting on the proposed Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance amendments at City Hall. Participants provided input on the draft language and raised questions on specific elements. 

March 24, 2022 - The City and MAPC hosted a public forum on Accessory Dwelling Units online via Zoom. Participants weighed in on how Beverly should use ADUs in the future.


Darlene Wynne, Director of Planning


Sarah Bartley, Planning Board
Hannah Bolcome, At Large 
Marina Bueno, At Large 
Rich Dinkin, Affordable Housing Trus
Scott Houseman, Ward 4 City Councilor
Nikki Moore, At Large
Gary Moffie, General Contractor 
Rosa Ordaz, Harborlight Community Partners