Boarding homes will now be allowed to operate in Bangor after the City Council voted to pass an ordinance on Monday night following months of debate.
A municipal housing work group had recommended in 2019 that the city allow for more boarding homes in response to a lack of affordable housing that has become more pronounced in a tight real estate market with rising home values.
The new ordinance, which passed unanimously, allows boarding homes to operate on major streets like Broadway, Stillwater Avenue, Hogan Road and Hammond, State, Main and Union streets.
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Boarding homes are single-family homes or buildings that provide three or more rooms to renters for 30 or more days, similar to apartments.
The new ordinance requires buildings to be either owner occupied or have management live onsite. They also must provide at least one off-street parking space for every three rooms.
Nearby residents would also need to be notified if developers proposed to build any boarding homes within 500 feet of their property, according to the ordinance.
The new ordinance followed months of discussion among the planning board, city councilors and residents after city staff proposed allowing more boarding homes to address a state and city-wide lack of housing. An original version of the ordinance would have allowed boarding homes in most city neighborhoods.
Residents complained that allowing more boarding homes would degrade existing property values, make on-street parking more competitive and burden the code enforcement office with inspecting more homes.
City planner Anne Krieg then introduced an amended version, which the city council passed Tuesday, that limited where boarding homes could operate in the city and required management or owners to live onsite.
The planning board voted 4-2 last week to recommend that city councilors pass that scaled-back version.