Nassau County Adopts Accessory Dwelling Regulations

On February 25, 2019, the Nassau County, Florida Board of County Commissioners voted to approve changes to the County Land Development Code (LDC) to allow accessory dwellings County-wide. The changes originated from a subcommittee of the County’s Affordable Housing Advisory Committee (AHAC), who were tasked with working on draft changes for the Code.

Nassau County, Florida Allows Accessory Dwellings
Nassau County, Florida Allows Accessory Dwellings

Addressing Affordable Housing

Accessory dwellings are seen nationwide as a best practice for addressing affordable housing issues by introducing a smaller footprint housing option. Over a series of many meetings starting in Summer 2018, the subcommittee submitted proposed changes to the full AHAC. The changes then went to the County’s Planning and Zoning Board, who recommended approval, and ultimately the Board of County Commissioners.

Accessory dwellings are now allowed as a by-right use in any residentially-zoned zoning district in the County. The code changes do not supersede any homeowner’s association rules. Property owners interested in constructing an accessory dwelling must obtain building permits through the County Building Department.

An accessory dwelling is defined as a self-contained residential unit that is accessory to a single-family home and on the same parcel. An accessory dwelling unit has its own bathroom, kitchen facilities, living and sleeping areas, though it can share other features with the single-family home including the yard, parking, storage or laundry facilities. An accessory dwelling can be attached to the single family home or detached. The accessory dwelling cannot exceed 50% of the primary structure’s square footage, with a maximum 800 square foot footprint, and has a maximum 25’ height limit.

Homesteaded Property Only

Under the LDC requirements, accessory dwellings may be utilized as guest houses for family members and friends or living space for caretakers. They may be used for rental property where the main home on the parcel carries an active homestead exemption through the Nassau County Property Appraiser’s office. Additional standards for accessory dwellings can be found in LDC Section 28.15(K). These standards address parking, setbacks, architectural standards, ownership and utility or well/septic connection. RVs, mobile or manufactured homes, and storage sheds cannot be used as accessory dwellings.

The Affordable Housing Advisory Committee meets the third Wednesday of each month at 4 pm in BOCC Chambers at 96135 Nassau Place. Meetings are open to the public. For more information, visit www.nassaucountyfl.com/housing. The LDC is available for review at www.municode.com.

The Nassau County Planning and Economic Opportunity Department is charged with leading long-range and current planning for the community, with a focus on technical planning, implementation and management of the Land Development Code and Comprehensive Plan, development and site plan review, and assistance to citizens, the Board of County Commissioners, County Manager and other staff, advisory boards, government agencies, and the private sector regarding growth and development in Nassau County. For more information on our Plan, Code, or current initiatives, visit www.nassaucountyfl.com/planning, call (904) 530-6300 or email [email protected]