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From exotic animals to accessory apartments


July 24, 2012

The Town of Tusten zoning rewrite committee plugged away on a list of unresolved items at its latest meeting on Monday, July 23.Probably the most hotly argued issue concerned the use of accessory buildings to house family members like aged parents.

The zoning already allows apartments within existing residences for such family members, but prohibits the refurbishing of detached buildings for the purpose. Arguments against permitting such conversions included concerns about septic and population density impacts on the land; arguments for it included the shortage of available senior housing, and of rental housing altogether, for which such accessory buildings could be used even after the original use had lapsed. The issue was unresolved as of the end of the meeting.

Other issues raised included the regulation of exotic animals and a recommendation that music teachers be permitted to teach more than one student at a time. Both these were a focus of concern to Tusten resident Chuck Hoffman, who spoke during the public comment period. Hoffman also made a suggestion that retail activity that is accessory to certain home-based businesses, like selling grooming aids for a dog grooming business, be allowed; and voiced his support for lenient regulations regarding shipping containers to be used as buildings, among other comments.

Zoning committee meetings are open to the public, and are scheduled for the fourth Monday of every month. The next one will be on August 27 at 7 p.m. in the town hall.