Keene Photo of Housing

Cottage Court Overlay

What is a Cottage Court?

Cottage courts are groupings of small houses around a shared public space. Considered a type of “missing middle” housing, they can be built as for-sale or rental units. Homes in a cottage court development are typically limited in size (for example, 1,200 square feet or less), oriented around shared green space, and have parking screened from the street.

Cottage Court developments are a great option for creating housing on properties with limited street frontage and/or an awkward shape. They are a type of “residential infill,” or adding housing to an existing neighborhood on vacant or underutilized properties. This type of development is one way to add housing density that is physically balanced with adjacent houses in terms of size, scale, and architectural character.

The City Council adopted the Cottage Court Overlay ordinance on May 16, 2024

To learn more: 


Why was the City interested in Cottage Courts?

The City began exploring options for creating smaller-format housing types after a housing study revealed that the demand for this type of housing in Keene is high (and growing!). Demand for this type of housing is particularly high among people age 55 and older, many of whom live alone.  The cottage court style of development would allow individuals to downsize to a smaller and more affordable home while still remaining in their community and having a place to call their own.  While cottage courts have existed in the U.S. for over 100 years, many zoning codes no longer accommodate them. 


Public Hearing - Thursday, April 18, 2024, 7:00 PM at the Keene City Council Meeting in City Hall, Council Chambers.
Proposed Cottage Court Overly District Ordinance

Monday, March 11, 2024, 6:30 PM at the Keene City Council Meeting in City Hall, Council Chambers.

Public Workshop - Tuesday, January 9th, 2024, 3:30-5:30 PM at the Hannah Grimes Center, 25 Roxbury Street
This included a presentation followed by breakout group discussions. The goal of this event was to provide an overview of the project and why we are pursuing it as well as to get feedback on preliminary design principles.



Community Development Department
communitydevelopment @
(603) 352-5440