Instead of removing barriers to SDUs, Council votes to add a prohibition

On May 23rd, Council once again pushed back the decision on if Eugene is going to comply with State Law allowing each single-family home owner who wants to build a secondary dwelling unit to do so (SB 1051.)  Not only did they fail to modify the proposal from staff to remove barriers to Secondary Dwellings Units, they actually voted amend the ordinance to prohibit Secondary Dwelling Units from the Jefferson Westside and Chambers Special Area Zones, two medium-density areas.  It is on the agenda for further discussion on June 11th. 

Watch the Work Session here

As our housing crisis continues, we need real action now to provide realistic housing options to all of the residents of Eugene.  Removing barriers to SDUs in Eugene is not only the simplest first step, it is now the law of Oregon.  Other cities around Oregon--Springfield, Cottage Grove, Corvallis, Sheridan, and others--are moving forward with modifying their code to remove barriers such as owner-occupancy requirements.  Eugene City Council, however, doesn’t seem to want to comply with the law and make it easier to provide housing to our residents until lawsuits and appeals make them.  

At the May 30th Council Work Session about tools to resolve our housing crisis, it was clarified that there are winners and losers in our housing crisis—as prices rise, renters and first-time home-buyers are priced out of the market or become housing cost burdened, while existing homeowners see their net-worth go up.  

Council voted to prohibit SDUs in the Jefferson Westside area because a handful of existing homeowners were concerned that, in the future if other changes were made to the code, it might allow more people to find a home in their neighborhood.  By doing so, Council continued their long pattern of not seeking balance between the desires of a minority existing homeowners and everyone else, but rather protecting the investment of those who got their first by giving renters and first-time buyers the short end of the stick.  

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