Accessory Dwellings

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Tangible Ways You Can Support Space-Efficient Housing

Build Small Live Large 2015

Build Small, Live Large Summit 2015 (photo credit: Love Ablan)

At the Build Small, Live Large Summit on Friday, November 6th, the five panelists in the Space-Efficient Housing Policy Round Table (Eli Spevak, Jean-Pierre Veillet, Danell Norby, Liz Getty, and Rachel Ginis) did an excellent job describing the regulatory challenges they face in their daily work as they attempt to create small homes. They also presented clever solutions to address or work around these challenges and left the audience with tangible ways they could support space-efficient housing. A member of the audience asked us to make the list available online and we thought that was a great idea, so we’ve obliged. Read on and pick an action item to help us promote small housing choices! Also be sure to read the How to Stay Involved in the Small House Movement by Billy Ulmer, published by Portland Alternative Dwellings.

ADU Advocates Everywhere
  • Review ADU regulations in your area to develop an understanding of which rules are in place and why.
  • If you find your city isn’t listed on the What are ADU rules where I live? table, send in a link so we can add it.
  • Familiarize yourself with good examples of ADUs though the ADU Case Studies.
  • If your city does not have ADU regulations, propose that your city adopt a Model Code for Accessory Dwellings.
  • Be a YIYBY (Yes, In Your Backyard!) Neighbor – when you see people building ADUs on their property go say “hi” and encourage them to keep up the good work!
  • If your city allows ADUs, help spread the word that it’s a viable option.
  • If your city allows ADUs only through a conditional use permit, propose that they be allowed by right.
  • If your city has restrictive ADU regulations, propose that they update them to be more flexible (no owner occupancy requirement, no additional parking requirement, etc.) Check out How Portland Became ADU-Friendly (And How Your City Can, Too) for specific ideas.
  • Encourage your city to create a waiver of System Development Charges (also called connection fees).
ADU Professionals (Designers/Builders/Developers/Consultants)
  • Ask to be added to the ADU Professionals List.
  • Suggest ADUs to your clients whenever appropriate.
  • Speak at city council to support ADU-friendly initiatives. (Check out How Portland Became ADU-Friendly (And How Your City Can, Too) for specific ideas.)
  • Engage with the neighborhood, even when it’s not required.
  • Build advocates and policy partners amongst your colleagues.
ADU Owners
  • Be an awesome ADU neighbor.
  • Be a YIYBY (Yes, In Your Backyard!) neighbor – when you see other people building ADUs on their property go say “hi” and encourage them to keep up the good work!
  • Submit a case study of your ADU (contact us).
  • Coordinate an ADU Tour of your home (and/or coordinate with other ADU owners).

Portland, OR Residents

Here’s a little update from Kol about the Multnomah County tax change:

For ADU owners, prospective homeowner/builders, builders, designers, we’re organizing through Google Groups. You can request to join here:!forum/multnomah-tax-change. Once you join, you can post questions or comments to the group. So whether you just completed your ADU, or you are in design, construction, or working in the industry, you’ll be able to keep up on the various actions being organized. Those that were hit by new taxes this year are preparing a group appeal, but there are political actions that are likely to happen, so you can keep up to speed with that issue through this Google Group as well.


About linamenard

Hi. My name is Lina Menard and I'm a small house dweller, designer, blogger, and builder. I'm currently collecting ADU Case Studies for Through my company Niche Consulting LLC, I help people design and build the home (and life) of their dreams! I also tell my stories about simple living in small spaces - like a travel trailer, a yurt, a backyard cottage, and tiny houses on wheels - at Niche News.

4 comments on “Tangible Ways You Can Support Space-Efficient Housing

  1. Pingback: ADU Case Studies 2016 Preview | Accessory Dwellings

  2. Pingback: Why Does Portland Have ALL the ADUs? | This Is The Little LifeThis Is The Little Life

  3. pdxjkc
    March 22, 2016

    Any whispers about the SDC waiver being extended?

    • linamenard
      March 26, 2016

      PDXJKC, No word recently, but do stay tuned!

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on December 11, 2015 by in Events, News and tagged , , , .
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