Senate bill will require dwelling units
A month after Estacada City Councilors said no to an amendment that would allow for secondary housing units, city leaders have learned that a bill passed earlier this year in the Oregon State Senate will require them.
Senate Bill 1051, passed in the legislative group's 2017 session and sponsored by the Committee on Business and Transportation, discusses affordable and multifamily housing. One of its stipulations is cities with populations of more than 2,500 or counties with populations of more than 15,000 are required to allow accessory dwelling units in certain areas.
The law will go into effect July 1, 2018, and states that the secondary housing units should be allowed in both residential and commercial-residential zones. Currently prohibited in Chapter 16 of the Estacada city code, accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are attachments to an already-existing house or small units detached from the original building.
The amendment to the city code that would have initially allowed the dwelling units in Estacada was voted down 4-3 during a Monday, Nov. 13, City Council meeting.
Estacada City Manager Denise Carey said the local amendment had been introduced as a way to create more affordable housing.
"One of (the City Council's) goals is to have housing for all types of incomes. So one of the things staff has concentrated on this year is 'How do we make it affordable for people to live here?" she said. "And so that led to the creation of an ordinance that would allow for additional dwelling units — adding an extra unit of livability for someone, that you could rent out."
Per the new law, local cities can create their own requirements and standards for the accessory dwelling units. Carey said Estacada's requirements for ADUs could be based off the code amendment that counselors considered.
"When they look at it again, there might be some differences from the first time we gave it to them," Carey said. "Since the discussion wasn't so much what we would allow, it was more about the idea of having (ADUs), we didn't really get from the council if there's specific things (that should be required)."
The initial code amendment that would have allowed for ADUs in Estacada had multiple guidelines, including no more than one secondary dwelling unit on a residentially zoned lot and a maximum size of 900-1,200 square feet, depending on the type of build-
Additionally, each unit would be required to have proper heating and sanitation, and meet other building codes.
Carey estimated that the new guidelines would be considered by the City Council in February or March of the upcoming year. Prior to that, the c
ity will likely hold an open house or workshops in
January or February so residents can learn more about accessory dwelling units.
City councilors cited lack of community awareness as one of the reasons they voted against the initial amendment.
"I have no fear that ADUs will work for our city. My fear is pushing it through before our people know what ADUs are all about," Mayor Sean Drinkwine said during the Nov. 13 meeting, where he voted against the amendment. "I don't think my citizens are clear on what ADUs are. We need to give them time to accept and understand before we say we're going to pass this."
Carey believes additional opportunities for citizen education also will be valuable.
"I think there was a misconception that you could just put some building in your backyard and let people live in it. It still has to meet the same setbacks as a house," she said. "That's why we want to do the regulations, so it doesn't turn into that. Since we have to have them, I think we should really come up with a good set of guidelines of how we're going to do it."