ADUs will bring traffic, noise to Lexington neighborhoods. Council should vote no.

·4 min read

Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a zone change from single family (R-1) to duplex (R-2). There is nothing ‘accessory’ about the term. It should be called Apartment Dwelling Unit.

If my single-family neighbor can take out his garage door and create a second front door, then passage of this ordinance will turn every single family home (R-1) into a future duplex (R-2). You don’t know this because they use the term, ‘accessory’.

They also use the term, ‘granny flat’. They do this to imply grandma wants to live in a separate apartment and be with the grandchildren.

But after granny dies or goes to a nursing home, it’s open season for a the income-hungry homeowner to rent the 800 sq ft apt to a family of four with 2-3 more cars, double the noise/trash and make mockery of neighborhood-watches as you have just invited non-owning tenants and their friends into your quiet, single-family neighborhood.

Now that the garage is gone, four to six cars will park in the front yard to keep from blocking others in. Or they will park on the street and extend over into the front of your house. This applies to detached garages, basements and attics becoming apartments, as well.

The council committee taking off the rear, stand-alone apt only halves the proposed ordinance that is still very damaging to owner-occupied, single-family neighborhoods.

Want to sell your new duplex? Sorry. Mortgage friends of mine say they don’t loan money to prospective buyers of your new duplex. Lending is for single-family only. Prospective buyers now have go to a commercial lender where down payments are much greater and rates higher, which will lower your price. Cash-only and seller-financing is a seller’s option, thus it sits unsold.

Wait. It gets worse. Duplexes(R-2) with garages, basements and attics bump up to R-3, which is up to four apartments. Four cars will turn into 8-10 cars jockeying out a single lane driveway, leaving mud pits in the front and rear yards. See State Street.

Can you say firetraps? If the ADU ordinance passes, entitled new landlords will put students in basements or attics with only one exit, the outside stairs. Building code requires two exits. Inoperable windows won’t be lowered to 40” to escape in a basement and attics won’t have the proper skylights to escape the smoke. Why? Because some landlords will try to get by without a permit to learn this and young people don’t know any better.

It’s not racist or elitist to protect your hard earned work to buy into a single family neighborhood. Just the opposite. It’s elitist of you to think you can take it away with the flick of a pen and a 15 person-only vote. Let’s put it on the ballot and we’ll definitely shoot it down that way.

ADU has nothing to do with affordable housing, low income housing, or homelessness like the proponents want you to believe. It also has nothing to do with AirBnB’s or Bed-and-Breakfasts which requires board of adjustment approval and/or a B-1 zone.

ADU is a permanent zone change of single family zoning in the misguided name of infill and redevelopment and affordable housing. With 1700+ acres of land in the Urban Service Area undeveloped and tons of empties for rent waiting to be filled by negotiable landlords, the last thing we need is more apts and neighbor- fighting-neighbor over all the unintended consequences of density, noise and trash.

See State Street. It is a prime example of bad public policy and unintended consequences. It’s no coincidence that some of the council members and staff are still around twenty years later to destroy the rest of Lexington’s single family homes. The rest of the public-policy deciders are retired, soaking up a pretty nice dime of your taxes called defined-benefit pensions that State Street indirectly funds.

Email all council members at and tell them to vote NO on the revised ADU proposal.

Ike Lawrence is past president of Aylesford and Shriners Neighborhood Association.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting