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Bandon Government and Politics STOCK

BANDON - Housing affordability and availability are issues facing cities large and small nationwide. With increasing population, waning housing supply and cost of living outpacing local wages, housing has become a greater burden for families and individuals to bear.

These issues persist in Bandon as well and have been addressed in the Housing Needs Assessment prepared for the City of Bandon in winter of 2018.

In an effort to address the lack of housing options and remove barriers to the development of new housing statewide, House Speaker Tina Kotek introduced House Bill 2007 in 2017. Senate Bill 1051 was the product of the legislative process addressing Kotek’s bill and was signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown on Aug. 15, 2017.

The bill requires that cities with populations greater than 2,500 allow the development of at least one accessory dwelling unit for each detached single-family dwelling in areas that are zoned for detached, single-family dwellings.

The Bandon Planning Commission has been tasked with developing reasonable regulations related to siting and design of these structures. The law went into effect on July 1, 2018, and the City of Bandon is working on a new ordinance to comply with the state mandate.

To that end, the commission will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 25, for a new ordinance that will permit ADU's on any property where a detached single-family dwelling is currently permitted outright.

After two work sessions discussing both state and local recommendations and after hearing public input regarding the proposed ordinance, the commission is prepared to move forward on a recommendation to the City Council regarding the legislative amendment, according to City Planner Dana Nichols. The change will affect property owners in residential and controlled development zones.

There have also been requirements set for county property located within urban growth boundaries. 

Needed housing is considered all housing on land zoned for mixed residential and commercial use that is determined by the state to meet the need shown for housing in a particular area. That "needed" housing must also meet price ranges and rent levels that are affordable to households within the county, including those with low, very low or extremely low incomes.

"Essentially, all housing is needed housing," Nichols said.

"There's actually a huge need for more lower income or affordable housing," Nichols added. "We're not solving the housing crisis, but we're adding another option for needed housing in town." 

Part of the state’s housing requirement is to have “clear and objective standards" created in an effort to ensure that all housing projects are held to the same standards and that applications are not denied due to administrative discretion or criteria subject to commission interpretation.

While the state mandates that accessory dwellings be outright permitted under certain scenarios, they have tasked local jurisdictions with developing their own reasonable standards for siting and design, subject to the clear and objective standards rule.

Accessory Dwelling Units can be attached or detached, internal or external. They can be a conversion of an existing space such as a garage or an upper or lower level of a house, or a construction of a new space, such as a "tiny" house or an detached apartment. ADUs can serve as additional living space for the primary dwelling, such as for families to house their aging parents or grown children, or they can be a long-term rental or guest house.

The commission has already shared their view that the units will not be permitted as vacation rentals, Nichols said.

In their work sessions, the commission has discussed size and height of the structures, using the existing, underlying zone language for lot coverage requirements, architectural feature requirements and setback requirements, and whether or not additional off-street parking should be required.

They have also discussed making a recommendation regarding a fee schedule (application costs, hook-up costs, and system development charges). The commission has limited its scope to only allowing one ADU per single-family dwelling (either attached or detached), as this is what is suggested by the state.

"One of our biggest concerns is what will the impact be on existing neighbors because you're adding density," Nichols said. "But ultimately, these ADU's have to meet building codes. People can't just willy-nilly convert their garages."

The commission has been working with information provided to them by staff, including a document created by the Department for Land Conservation and Development as a guide and model ordinance for implementation of the state’s mandate.

Staff has also provided a list of what other communities have done in the past to regulate ADUs, though many communities are also updating their code with the passage of SB 1051.

The proposed ordinance language will be presented to the commission at a hearing at the Oct. 25 meeting. The commission may choose to make a recommendation to the council that evening, or may choose to continue the public hearing to the following meeting, if needed.

Time will be allowed for verbal testimony at the hearings. It is recommended that testimony be presented in written form. The deadline for inclusion of testimony in the meeting packet is 5 p.m. on Oct. 17. The deadline for electronic (email or fax), hand delivered or U.S. mail testimony is 3 p.m. on Oct. 24. After 3 p.m. on Oct. 24, testimony must be presented at the hearing. 

The council will hold its own public hearing on the matter, probably at the December regular meeting, and will make the ultimate decision regarding passage of the ordinance, which is expected to go into effect next spring.

Public comment is encouraged.

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Bandon Western World Editor Amy Moss Strong can be reached at 541-347-2423, ext. 305, or by email at Follow Bandon Western World on Facebook.