The Springfield City Council decided this week to extend its waiver of system development charges (SDCs) for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) through June 30, 2022. Springfield began waiving SDCs for ADUs on July 1, 2017 for a two-year period, and now the Council is extending that by three years, subject to an annual review. An ADU is a small, self-contained dwelling that is built in conjunction with an existing single-family home.

The Council reviewed the SDC waiver program for ADUs and found that the waiver, along with development code amendments adopted last year, has had the result of stimulating the addition of ADUs to the City’s housing supply. Since adoption of the code amendments, the City has received 13 applications for ADUs, has issued 4 building permits and two ADUs have been completed. The City didn’t have any recent applications for ADUs until the code was amended and many property owners have stated that they would not have considered adding an ADU but for the SDC waiver.

The waiver reduces the costs involved with building an ADU by waiving the City’s transportation, stormwater, and local wastewater SDCs for newly permitted ADUs. The waiver can lower construction costs for a typical ADU in Springfield by an estimated $5,000 to $6,000. Two other local agencies have taken similar measures such as offsetting or reducing their SDCs that are required for ADUs in Springfield: Springfield Utility Board and the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission.

The City sees several benefits of having more ADUs in Springfield, primarily to increase the supply of small rental units for which the vacancy rate is lowest. In 2018, Springfield also made changes to its development code to make it easier to build ADUs such as eliminating the minimum square footage requirement, allowing ADUs in the Washburne Historic District and in medium and high density residential zones, and removing the requirement for the property owner to live on site.

There are several design standards and required permits to construct an ADU. Those interested in learning more can visit www.springfield-or.gov, or contact Springfield’s Development and Public Works Department at 541.726.3753.