A key city board in New Haven endorsed the idea of removing some permitting restrictions on accessory dwelling units, but moved to keep several important ones intact.

The City Plan Commission this week voted to back a proposal by city staff that would let local residential property owners to build ADUs – apartments either carved out of an existing home or built on the same lot in a stand-alone structure – as-of-right without needing to seek a zoning variance.

But the body unanimously decided to keep a requirement intact for the property owner to live on the premises, the New Haven Independent reported.

The city has long allowed ADUs to be carved out of existing structures in the city’s residential zoning districts, but the new rule would let them be converted from garages, as well. However, curbs on new ADUs that don’t replicate pre-existing ones on the property, like old sheds or garages, or ones that would increase the bulk of an existing structure will remain.

The city’s ginger steps towards allowing ADU construction in its residential neighborhoods have so far produced no units, to the disappointment of some housing advocates.

States like California have successfully used much more liberal ADU laws to generate tens of thousands of new homes to help ease their housing crises.