Council Postpones Discussion of ADUs

City Council had been scheduled to discuss removing unreasonable restrictions on Accessory Dwelling Units in Eugene at their June 12th Work Session.  This discussion has now been postponed to their July 24th work session, nearly a month and a half later.  In the meantime, written comments are still being accepted: they can be emailed to and

On May 20th, Council head a public hearing on ADU regulations, where two-thirds of those speaking came to express their support for removing excessive restrictions on ADUs in Eugene.  You can watch the public hearing here.  More information about the proposed ordinance can be found here.

The proposed ordinance removes Eugene's owner-occupancy requirement for ADUs in Eugene, along with several other regulations. The Department of Land Conservation and Development recommends against owner-occupancy requirements for ADUs, due to extreme difficulty in enforcing in an equitable way. Eugene's attempt to enforce owner-occupancy requirements has lead to such unreasonable requirements as requiring homeowners to provide the city with a doctor's note if they need to leave for more than 6 months for medical reasons.  Eugene's owner-occupancy requirements creates barriers and hoops not just for those who don't plan on living on the property with the ADU, but also those who do.  Cities that have modified their code in order to be compliant with SB 1051, which requires cities to permit at least one ADU for each detached single family home owner who wants one, have consistently removed their owner-occupancy requirements.

The proposed ordinance does not address many of the other unreasonable regulations in Eugene's code that both prevent Eugene from being compliant with state law regarding ADUs and inhibit efforts to ensure housing availability, affordability, and diversity.  Requirements such as lot size minimums, density maximums, alley access lot prohibitions, parking minimums, and sloped setbacks all either prohibit homeowners from building an ADU's, or add unreasonable delay and cost while providing minimal benefits. Council should remove these provisions from the code prior to passing the ordinance.

The discussion on ADUs has likely been delayed while the City waits on the results of two state-level actions that will impact what the City is permitted to do related to ADUs.  The first, an appeal to the State Land Use Board of Appeals from a homeowner near the University who was told that he couldn't build an ADU on his property, questions the reasonableness of many of Eugene's restrictions on ADUs.  An opinion is expected in early June.  The second is the outcome of HB 2001, which among other things clarifies that owner-occupancy requirements and off-street parking minimums are not acceptable regulations on ADUs.