Making Cottages Easier to Build
Eugene is facing a multi-faceted housing crisis. Part of the problem is supply--there simply are not enough housing units, at the price points and forms needed, for our growing population. Eugene needs to be taking real action towards identifying ways to make it easier to build different housing types. While the issue of housing is complex, the first step to encouraging more and better housing choice is to make it legal for them to do so.
Cottages, including both backyard cottages (secondary dwelling units) and clusters of cottages, are one form of housing that both provides smaller and more cost effective options, while also being ideal for small infill projects in walkable areas.
Council should instruct staff to create a package of Cottage Code Amendments, to allow for easier and more cost effective construction of backyard cottages and cottage cluster in Eugene by:
- Remove restrictions on Secondary Dwelling Units that inhibit or complicate their legal development in residential zones in Eugene.
- Create “Cottage Clusters” as a by-right housing type in Eugene residential zones.
Let Council Know You want to see the Cottage Code Amendments:
To: Eugene City Council:
We, the undersigned citizens, believe that it is time to act to help improve housing options in Eugene. We support immediate action on the “Cottage Code Amendments” to make it easier and less expensive to build smaller housing types in Eugene—including making changes to our zoning code to promptly and fully comply with SB 1051 to allow every detached single family home owner in Eugene to build a secondary dwelling unit if they so desire, and to make “Cottage Clusters” a by-right housing development type in Eugene.
For Secondary Dwelling Units, the State has already told us that we must do this by July 2018. We need to move forward in a timely fashion to comply with this law, and to allow our homeowners the choice to legally build housing for their family members or to rent out on their property. This will provide more options for renters.
But the housing crisis in Eugene is not just a renter crisis. In addition to rising rents, we are seeing historically low housing inventory compared to demand, and increasing home purchase prices. Making Secondary Dwelling Units easier won’t address this—but making it easier to build Cottage Clusters will help. Cottage Clusters can provide options for those who wish to purchase a smaller home; they also are a tool that is increasingly being used to provide subsidized affordable housing, and easing the process of creating them will allow our affordable housing funds to stretch further.