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Portland’s City Council just extended the waiver of systems development charges on accessory dwelling units for 2 additional years. Here’s a link to the exact language of the ordinance. After some councillors expressed concern about the length of the extension (originally proposed for 3 years) and other issues, the extension proposal was dropped to 2-years. This brought in more votes, ultimately garnering unanimous support on the 5-person council. The new expiration date would be July 31, 2018, so long as the ADU obtains final inspection and certificate of occupancy no later than June 30, 2019.
The measure directs impacted bureaus to bring code, rate ordinances, and policy changes necessary to implement this resolution back to City Council for a vote at their May 18th meeting. In the past, these have been simple and boilerplate implementing measures, but there’s a possibility in this case that one or more commissioners might try to use these measures to put conditions on the waivers. So the story might not be quite over yet.
Thanks to everyone for the public testimony and advocacy it took to get this extension passed!
Extending the waiver will afford more time to sort out the property tax issue with the County and the State, understand better the overlap between accessory dwelling units and short term rentals (a growing concern on City Council), and provide predictability on how SDCs would be calculated for ADUs down the road. It also reflects continued support by Council for measures that encourage the development of ADUs as affordable, discreet, and neighborhood-friendly housing options for smaller households. This support is consistent with zoning code revisions to accessory structures City Council adopted in late 2015 that make it easier to build ADUs (especially smaller ones). And it may be important in the coming year, as Portland contemplates new zoning code regulations through the ‘residential infill project’ that could further increase the availability of ADUs. So stay tuned!
Here’s the video from the hearing. It’s 40 minutes long or so, so grab some popcorn.
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