By The Rev. Joe Hensley
As a faith community leader and resident of Fredericksburg, I wholeheartedly support expanding regulations around ADU’s (Accessory Dwelling Units). We need to make it easier, not harder, for people to live in community and be a blessing to one another.
ADU’s provide housing options that can promote mutual support and care. When people are able to live together, although not necessarily under one roof, they can more easily help each other. Our society expects people to be self-sufficient and even makes it difficult sometimes when people want to share resources or shelter. By expanding access to ADU’s, the city is sending a message that we want give people more ways to collaborate and live together. This is a benefit to everyone, especially to residents who do not want to live all alone for physical, emotional, or financial reasons.
Some of the city’s more affluent residents have long had the option of sharing space in an ADU, because their older homes, with structures formerly built for servants or family, have accessory units exempt from newer rules. Expanding access means that everyone has an equal opportunity to consider this possibility. ADU’s offer an option for more affordable housing which has been part of life in Fredericksburg for a long time. We can and should offer that option to more people.
In all faith traditions, love of neighbor is a crucial value. Love is something we find through caring and supportive relationships. I encourage our leaders to consider the ways in which ADU’s are part of the larger picture of thriving neighborhoods, places where people who live closely can share more and care more, a blessing to all.
The Rev. Joe Hensley is Rector of St. George’s Episcopal Church, Fredericksburg.