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Units will now be allowed within Prineville's urban growth boundary and city properties with septic, well service

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - City and county planners have updated rules on accessory dwelling units.

Recent changes in some state laws have resulted in the city of Prineville and Crook County changing the code regarding accessory dwelling units.

According to City Planning Director Josh Smith, the Prineville code has allowed people to add accessory dwelling units to their property as long as they are hooked up to city sewer and water services.

"The city has allowed ADUs since we updated the code in 2011," he said. "In the past, they were just never in our land use code."

He added that in addition to receiving city services, properties eligible for accessory dwelling units had to have a single-family dwelling on it. Properties with duplexes or other multiple housing are not.

Accessory dwelling units are defined as "a unit that is classified as a dwelling" and "not just a guest house or an extra bedroom," Smith said.

"It has a full kitchen and a separate access," he added, noting that an additional parking space is required for the unit was well.

Travel trailers and other recreational vehicles do not count, however manufactured home are considered accessory dwelling units.

"It can be attached, detached or above a garage," Smith went on to say about ADUs. "(In the city) it has to be 700 square feet or less and with that limit on the size, we don't charge system development charges."

Smith said that they regulate how the ADUs are used. People are allowed to rent them out and in many cases, they are built to house family members.

The catalysts for the recent changes at the county and city level are the passage of Senate Bill 1051, which requires cities and counties of a certain size to allow ADUs, and the passage of House Bill 4031, which clarified that counties need only allow them on county land that lies within a city urban growth boundary.

"There are parts of the county within the urban growth boundary that aren't part of the city yet," Smith said.

So the county recently updated its code to comply with the new state mandates and now allows ADUs on properties in the city urban growth boundary that have septic and well service. However, that created a unique problem that the city wanted to address.

"What that would do is create this funny gap where if you are out in the county, you can have an ADU, but if you are inside the city limits without water and sewer, you can't."

Such a scenario is rare, Smith admits, but there are some city properties that fit that description. In addition, the city has fielded and denied requests from people who have wanted to add an ADU but lacked the required water and sewer services.

"So, we said if the county is going to allow them in the UGB, the city is going to change its code to match so people on septic and well can have them."

The Prineville City Council approved the proposed changes to the code at its Tuesday evening meeting, opening the door for the new option. To what degree people will utilize it is not clear. Smith said that while they have had some requests – mostly in the 400 to 500 square foot range – there hasn't been a significant rush. While that is the case, it may be emerging as a new homebuilding option.

"We have just started getting people interested in doing them with new construction, so we are seeing some in IronHorse that are integrated into the home," Smith said.

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