The Ruscombmanor Township supervisors approved a zoning amendment on Sept. 5 allowing accessory dwellings such as tiny homes in residential districts.

According to township Solicitor Paul T. Essig, the revision will allow one accessory dwelling unit (ADU) per property, and the unit may house relatives or caregivers for the owners of the main house.

The units cannot be rented.

The ordinance targets tiny homes that usually can be wheeled onto a space near but separate from the home, and can either be removed or converted into non-residential use, such as storage, once they're no longer needed.

Essig said residents with the tiny homes would be required to obtain a permit, which the board set for $150, and have the permit reviewed every six months by a township zoning officer.

The ordinance requires a minimum habitable area of 140 square feet and a maximum of 400 square feet, with an on-lot septic system, kitchen and bath facilities.

Essig said plans had been submitted to township and county planning commissions, and had received a thumb's-up from Berks County officials.

The idea began with a request from a township property owner who attended a meeting.

Upon review, Essig said some municipalities in Berks and Lancaster counties had been approving similar amendments, as many senior citizen organizations have recommended.

“This is designed to help older people,” Essig said.

In other business, supervisor Chairman Donald Miller said Rueben Strauss Park on Route 662 has serious water problems in part due to excess rain the last two years. He said parts of the park had to be closed this summer and the problem has not gone away.

According to Miller, the township has reached out to its engineering company, LTL Consultants of Oley, to discuss swales and other stormwater controls to correct ongoing problems.

“It's bad … no question about it,” Miller said.

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