Bill Randall of Arbor South Architecture built a LEED Platinum accessory dwelling unit (cottage) to accompany his primary residence on an R-1 zoned lot near downtown Eugene (photo from Arbor South's website)
I previously mentioned the work of Better Housing Together, a coalition of community leaders working to address the local housing affordability crisis. Better Housing Together has issued a call to arms, asking for all who support the development of affordable housing types within established single-family residential neighborhoods to attend and comment at a public forum this coming Monday, April 16 at Harris Hall.
The current form of Eugene’s R-1 zoning functionally excludes a large percentage of our population at any price point by not offering the type of housing needed. Oregon Senate Bill 1051 mandates the expedition of affordable housing permits. My understanding is the City of Eugene requirements for permitting of secondary or accessory dwelling units presently fail to adequately comply with SB 1051, and accordingly the City is obliged to revise them to make the path toward the development of ADUs less onerous. Some of the existing obstacles that confront those wishing to build ADUs include minimum lot size requirements, special restrictions in particular neighborhoods, height and roof slope limitations, and deed restrictions mandating owner-occupancy of one of the two units on the property.
Here’s the notice from Better Housing Together:
City of Eugene SB 1051 Public Forum: Monday, April 16 @ 7:30pm
On Monday, April 16, City Council will be holding a Public Forum on SB 1051—the new State Law that a bill that requires cities to comply with standards that promote affordable housing and allow an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) on property zoned for single-family residential.
It is important that Councilors see faces and hear your organization’s voice. Your presence and testimony are needed. Please arrive at Harris Hall (125 E. 8th Avenue) by 7:15pm to sign-up for public comment. We will also have stickers for coalition partners and supporters.
Better Housing Together has provided a list of possible talking points for your testimony (see below), and they are encouraging all partners to identify their organization/business and mission in this community, as well as their partnership with Better Housing Together.
We are encouraging all partners to identify their organization/business and mission in this community, as well as your partnership with Better Housing Together. Please feel free to use any of the points below in your testimony.
As an organization and a partner in the Better Housing Together effort, we encourage City Council to:
- Comply with state law. Demonstrate our community’s commitment to affordability and diversity by removing barriers to age-friendly, inclusive housing.
- Recognize that our community needs smaller and more affordable housing options for all residents of all ages and income levels. Take immediate steps to encourage “missing middle” and more affordable housing types—like ADUs.
- Make this simple and direct. The proposed “two-phased” path to implementation is unfunded and unscheduled. SB 1051 requires compliance by July 1, 2018. If implementation is to be “phased,” all phases should be complete by July 1, 2018.
- Adopt code regulations and permitting fees for ADUs that facilitate the construction of this smaller housing type. It should not be easier to build a large garage than it is to build a small cottage. It should not cost as much to permit a 600sf cottage as it does to permit a 3,000sf house.
- Remember that housing + transportation = affordability. By locating new housing in places with nearby amenities like parks, transportation options, and grocery stores, we support overall affordability. This is what matters to working families and individuals living on fixed incomes.
- Understand housing is at the center of livability—accessibility, availability and affordability. Where certain residents can live is determined by what housing is available. The most equitable communities have a diversity of housing options available throughout.
- Increase quality of life, support families and workers, advance our climate goals, and support local economic opportunity by supporting housing diversity—like ADUs.
- Show leadership. ADUs are an important step toward BUILDING a more affordable, resilient, age-friendly, inclusive community. This is the community we want. Please take steps that make it easier—not harder—to build the community we want.