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Accessory Dwelling Units

Small house, photo by Small Home Oregon
Credit: Small Home Oregon
Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are small, self-contained dwellings that are allowed in conjunction with an existing single-family home. An ADU has its own entrance and a separate kitchen, bathroom, living, and sleeping area. ADUs can be apartments created within an existing home, additions onto a home or above a garage, built as a freestanding cottage, or even designed and constructed as part of a new housing development. Learn about Springfield's current requirements for ADUs in this brochure, and in the development code (section 5.5 regarding ADUs).

There are three ways that the City is encouraging ADUs as part of its affordable housing strategy:

  1. Temporarily waiving the City's system development charges for ADUs from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2019.
  2. Promoting awareness of possibilities for ADUs.
  3. Revising the development code to make it easier and potentially less expensive to build an ADU.

NEW Temporary Waiver of System Development Charges for ADUs
From July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2019 the City of Springfield is waiving transportation, stormwater, and local wastewater system development charges (SDCs) for newly permitted ADUs. This waiver reduces the cost of construction of a typical ADU by an estimated $5,000 to $6,000. Note that SDCs imposed by the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission and Willamalane Park and Recreation District are still in effect. Learn more about the waiver here.

Proposed Changes to Springfield's Development Code Regarding ADUs

Accessory dwelling unit in Eugene, photo by Bekke Reiman
Credit: Bekke Reiman
Springfield is considering amendments to its development code to make it easier to build ADUs. The City Council has wrapped up discussion of the public's comments on this, and Council is scheduled to adopt the amendments on March 5, 2018.

The proposed development code amendments expand options for ADUs in Springfield in the following ways:

  • Allow an existing small dwelling to become an ADU (if it is less than 800 square feet), and build a primary dwelling unit.
  • Allow ADUs on properties zoned medium and high density residential. Learn more about zoning here.
  • Allow ADUs in the Washburne Historic District, subject to the requirements of Springfield Development Code Section 3.3-900 (Historic Overlay District).
  • Remove the minimum size requirement of 300 square feet for an ADU.
  • Remove the ratio requirement (currently an ADU cannot exceed 40 percent of the primary dwelling unit size), while maintaining the maximum ADU size requirement of 800 square feet.
  • Allow more flexibility in the location of the entrance to the ADU.
  • Waive the on-site parking requirement if there is on-street parking available (and there are no adopted plans to remove the on-street parking).
  • Allow an unpaved parking space on-site, if there is a paved driveway (at least 18 feet long measured from the property line) that serves the parking space for the ADU.
  • Remove requirement for the property owner to live on site.
  • Allow more options for meeting design standards.
  • Allow manufactured homes (Type 2) and approved towable structures as ADUs so long as they are permitted, inspected, and approved by the local authority.

Read the citizen involvement plan for ADU code amendments.

Meetings and Events
For the hearing-impaired or non-English speakers, an interpreter can be provided for these events with 48 hours' notice; please call 541.726.3700.

March 5, 2018 City Council Adoption of Ordinance
In regular session which starts at 7 p.m., the Council will potentially adopt an Ordinance to amend the Springfield Development Code. The public is invited to attend, however the Council will not be taking additional testimony on the proposed amendments.

February 12, 2018 City Council Work Session
The City Council continued to discuss public testimony in a work session.

February 5, 2018 City Council Work Session
The City Council continued discussing the public testimony regarding proposed amendments to the development code. Read the Council meeting packet.

January 16, 2018 City Council Work Session
The City Council conducted a work session to review and discuss the public comments submitted through December 18, 2017. Read the work session agenda packet.

December 4, 2017 City Council Public Hearing: Proposed Code Amendments
The City Council held a public hearing to consider proposed code amendments. View the presentation made at the hearing, and the public hearing notice. Read the Council agenda packet for the public hearing.

November 8, 2017 Planning Commission Deliberations
The Planning Commission continued to accept written comments until 5 p.m. on October 27, 2017. The Commission then met on November 8 to review the public comments and make a recommendation on the proposed code amendments. The report and findings to support the Planning Commission’s recommendation are available here. View the Planning Commission’s agenda packet here.

October 17, 2017 Planning Commission Public Hearing: Proposed Code Amendments
The Planning Commission held a public hearing at on, October 17 to hear comments on the proposed code amendments related to ADUsView the presentation made by staff at the hearing. Read the public hearing notice. See the meeting agenda packet here.

September 28, 2017 Open House: ADUs in Springfield
Thanks to all who attended the Open House to provide comments on the above proposed development code changesspecific to ADUs, and to talk with City staff about how to build an ADU in Springfield. View the PowerPoint presentation from the Open House, and the posters displayed of ADU examples (many more examples can be found at www.accessorydwellings.org), and the proposed code amendments with visuals.

Background: Springfield's Affordable Housing Strategy
The City Council wants Springfield to be a family-friendly community for all people in every phase of life; whether it’s just starting out with a new family, or downsizing to a smaller home. There is a lack of available housing for all income levels in Springfield, and existing housing is expensive. Learn more about the City's affordable housing strategy here.

Accessory dwelling units benefit the community by:

  • Increasing the number and type of affordable housing units without consuming land in the city’s limited inventory of undeveloped land.  In particular, they increase the supply of small rental units which is where the rental market is currently the tightest.
  • Increasing density in existing neighborhoods, taking advantage of existing infrastructure.
  • Creating opportunities for intergenerational living, on-site caretakers/assistants.
  • Diversifying the demographics of an existing neighborhood.
  • Providing financial benefit to the property owner.
  • Triggering economic development at a local scale through local builders/contractors.

Contact Information
Sandy Belson, Comprehensive Planning Manager

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City of Springfield, Oregon