2023 Home Creators Expo in Hartford May 6
Promoting ADUs to Help the Housing Crisis; Encouraging Homeowners to Become Home Creators
An upcoming event aims to encourage homeowners to take our region’s housing shorting into their own hands by building “accessory dwelling units” or ADUs: small, adaptable housing units that can be added to existing properties.
The 2023 Home Creators Expo takes place Saturday, May 6, 10 – 3 pm, Hartford Area Career and Technology Center (HACTC). The event is free and public, but registration is requested to help plan materials and events. The event is a chance to learn about all aspects of permitting, building, and living in ADUs, and offers attendees access to builders, financial experts, home manufacturers, and permitting professionals all in one place to explore the feasibility of building an ADU on their property. The event is being presented by a partnership of Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission (TRORC), the Town of Hartford, and Vital Communities and is hosted by HACTC). Registration link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2023-home-creators-expo-tickets-559524562027
The event is designed to help participants understand how to take an ADU project from concept to reality, with workshops that offer an overview as well as addressing more specific questions such as what parts of the project you might be able to do yourself, managing landlord-tenant relationships, and different design elements. Participants can also visit booths to speak with ADU experts and representatives of related businesses and organizations.
It’s not news that the Upper Valley needs thousands of new affordable houses and apartments. Projects big and small will play a role in providing these units. Small-scale development in the form of ADUs could provide hundreds of units across the Upper Valley by converting part of or adding on to existing homes or placing another home on the lot. These ADUs can fit in with our neighborhoods, create income for owners, enable accessible living spaces for seniors, provide places for needed workers to live, increase economic activity in the area, help keep school enrollment steady, and save on energy – without encroaching on open space or requiring extensions of roads and utilities.
“It can seem that our villages and downtowns are all built up, but opportunities abound for repurposing our old buildings and filling in blanks in our core areas that will save money, greenhouse gas emissions, and make most efficient use of town infrastructure,” said Kevin Geiger, Director of Planning at TRORC. “In villages, accessory dwellings can wonderfully fit into all sorts of niches and bring needed residents and life.”
Many communities have already taken steps to update their zoning. “We’ve heard from many property owners that they want to be part of the solution by building an ADU but they don’t know how to go about doing that. The Home Creators Expo is our way to help put that desire into action ,” said Lori Hirshfield, Director of Planning & Development at the Town of Hartford.
Along with the lack of affordable housing units, the Upper Valley also expects to see household sizes shrink due to an aging population and a projected increase in the number of households by 2030 (https://www.keystothevalley.com/report/2030-home-projections/ ).
“It’s going to take everybody to create the homes we need in our region,” said John Haffner, a Housing and Transportation Program Manager at Vital Communities. “We want to connect attendees with the knowledge and resources they need to be a part of the solution to the housing crisis in the Upper Valley.”