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Seaside delays decision on accessory dwellings

Housing crunch: Accessory units designed to meet housing need
By R.J. Marx

The Daily Astorian

Published on June 7, 2018 10:54AM

Last changed on June 25, 2018 10:18AM

A proposed amendment aims to comply with new state rules regulating accessory dwelling units.

R.J. Marx

A proposed amendment aims to comply with new state rules regulating accessory dwelling units.

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Responding to a state Senate mandate to facilitate the creation of accessory dwelling units in Seaside, the Planning Commission met in June to develop an amendment allowing the units in all residential zones allowing detached single-family dwellings. The rules are designed to increase the availability of housing in cities throughout the state. Seaside’s City Council will consider the new rules at the June 25 meeting.

The city currently allows guest houses without kitchens as a use in residential zones; the new provisions will allow a kitchen and regulate the new use.

While the state now requires cities with a population of more than 2,500 to enact an ordinance, the law gives latitude to the city in terms of how to craft its wording, City Planner Kevin Cupples said. “It was instigated by the passage of the Senate bill,” Cupples said. “They have to allow ADUs in all residential zones that allow a detached single-family home.”

The amendment could limit the size of the accessory dwelling to a percentage of a property’s lot size, house size, a combination of both or just a flat size, he added.

Planning commissioners considered modifications to the state’s model amendment.

According to Seaside’s draft proposal, developed in a joint work session with members of the City Council, an additional off-street parking space must be provided in addition to the two spaces for the single-family dwelling and a unit must be set back a minimum of 5 feet from the main dwelling.

Accessory dwelling units will be limited to one story, unless incorporated into the second story of a detached garage.

Another provision restricts short-term rental of either the single-family dwelling or the accessory building.

Developer Max Ritchie asked the commission to consider increasing the square footage permissible for an accessory unit, citing similar rules in Portland and Salem which allow accessory dwelling units to be sized at 75 percent of the primary structure or 800 feet, whichever is less.

Rules currently limit accessory dwelling units to 1,000 square feet, Cupples said, unless a larger use is approved by the Planning Commission.

Commissioners wrestled with establishing a “hard and fast” size limit or using a formula, such as a percentage of the main home’s total floor area, square footage or the property lot size. Developing a conditional use permit for buildings that exceed standards could be an answer.

“If they’ve got the room, they’ve got the potential,” Cupples said. “If they don’t, then they can’t.”

Commission chairman Chris Hoth asked for time to review possible size restrictions and issues for discussion.

“There are just too many questions right now,” he said in asking for a continuance. “I’m kind of concerned how this is going to play out in different scenarios. I’m fairly comfortable with the rest of the language, but this size issue seems to be a legitimate area for discussion. I don’t feel comfortable sending this along without looking at that further.”

Commissioners will resume the discussion at the Planning Commission meeting on June 19.

Provisions regulating accessory dwelling units become state law on July 1.

After the commission’s approval and any changes by the City Council, drafts of the ordinance must be sent to the Department of Land Conservation and Development for review, Cupples said. “Provided you’re not breaking the law with the ordinance amendment you’re proposing, they’re not going to deny it.”


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