The inclusion of accessory apartments and dwellings as approved construction in Sherman could be the the answer to Sherman’s seniors aging in place.

So feels First Selectman Clay Cope.

The Planning and Zoning Commission approved the regulation change June 18. It was to go into effect this week.

Owners of parcels eight acres or larger may build accessory dwellings on their properties at a maximum of 1,200-square-feet each, with up to two bedrooms, one kitchen, one full bathroom and one half-bathroom.

“This enables seniors to have a building on the property that a family member can live in,” Cope said. “Or if they choose, the family members can live in the primary house, while the senior moves to the smaller, accessory dwelling. This is good for Sherman.”

Sherman has struggled to find a solution to some of its senior citizens being forced to move out of town when they wish or need to downsize their living situation.

The town’s Housing Commission proposed building affordable senior housing on 15 acres on Route 39 near Colonial Park.

The proposal was to have the town-owned land leased to the Sherman Housing Trust, comprising Housing Commission members.

Voters overwhelmingly rejected the proposal, 699-300, in June 2014.

An advisory question accompanying the referendum vote indicated 654 voters preferred to retain the land for open space. Had it been approved, 12 to 16 units of 600 square feet each would have been built, with up to 40 units eventually to be constructed.

Art von Plachecki, the Housing Commission chairman, said the commission supported the accessory apartment and dwelling proposal when the Planning and Zoning Commission conducted its public hearing on the regulation.

“It was an initial start,” von Plachecki said. “We were hoping they’d moved down a littler lower on acreage size of allowed parcels. We hope they will continue to look at that.”

The accessory dwellings must be used for residential purposes, for guests, relatives of the property owner, caretakers or domestic employees.

stuz@newstimes.com; 203-731-3352