In 2017, the Oregon legislature passed SB 1051, which states that cities like Eugene must allow each single family homeowner to develop an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) if they so desire, subject only to "reasonable regulations related to siting and design." The state Land Use Board of Appeals found Eugene's response to SB 1051 inadequate, and directed the City to try again. Last Wednesday, the City Council met to discuss what to do about ADU's.
City Council's Decision: Let's keep as many barriers against ADU's as possible.
Council reviewed 19 separate restrictions placed on ADUs. Five of the restrictions were so obviously not "reasonable restrictions related to siting and design" that they would be nearly impossible to defend, so Council directed staff to removed them from the draft code. For fourteen of the nineteen, Council requested that staff keep the restrictions in place, and directed staff to come up with some legal justification for the restriction. (See details of the 19 restrictions, Council's action and WE CAN's recommendations at the end of this posting.)
Council has been talking for over a year now about how to remove barriers to housing affordability, availability, and diversity of type. But when given an opportunity to take action to make it easier to create and find housing in Eugene, Council polled to keep those barriers in place.
Watch the work session, and let Council know what you think. They can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
What comes next?
City staff will create a draft ordinance following Council's instructions, and then hold a public hearing on that draft ordinance. Look for more information as soon as it is scheduled, but likely in the spring. City Council will consider revising the draft ordinance based on public input (both written and oral) and the vote on the new code language.
How Does Eugene Compare to Other Cities in Oregon?
Eugene has among most restrictive regulations on ADUs in the state. In respond to SB 1051, many other cities have reviewed their code and removed barriers to ADUs. For a lengthy analysis of how various cities have addressed ADU regulations, click here. Of the 16 comparably cities reviewed:
Every other city that revised their code removed requirements for owner-occupancy
No other city explicitly counts ADUs in maximum density limits
No other city requires a minimum lot size for ADUs in the way that Eugene does
No other city restricts the height of ADUs as strictly as Eugene
Eugene is distinctive and amazing in many ways. But being the city that makes it the hardest to create ADUs is not a distinction we want.
The below chart shows the 19 items Council examined, and the results of their straw poll regarding keep or remove. The original chart can be found in the agenda for the 2-20 work session.
Minimum Lot Size: Council says keep; should be removed
Maximum Density: Council says keep; should be removed
Lot Dimension Requirements for the University Neighborhoods: Council says keep; should be removed
Off-street Parking Minimums: Council says keep; should be removed
Building Height/Sloped Setback: Council says keep; should be revised to ensure reasonablness
Maximum Lot Coverage: Council says keep; should be revise to remove separate regulation for university area
Building Size: Council says keep; should be revised to remove size requirement based on lot size
Outdoor storage/Trash Screening: Council says keep; should be removed
Prohibition on Alley Access Lots: Council says keep; should be removed
Alley Access Parking/Driveway requirements: Council says keep; should be revised
Outdoor living area: Council says keep; can be kept
Pedestrian Access requirement: Council says keep; can be kept
Minimum Attachment: Council says keep; can be kept
Vehicle Use Area limit: Council says keep; can be kept
Owner Occupancy Requirement: Council says remove; should be removed
Maximum Bedroom Limit: Council says remove; should be removed
ADU-specific Maximum Occupancy: Council says remove; should be removed
ADU-specific dog keeping limit: Council says remove; should be removed
Prohibition on Alley Access Lots: Council says remove; should be removed