Accessory dwelling units allowed in nearly all zones after Newberg City Council vote

The Newberg City Council has overcome a number of setbacks to approve an update to the city's municipal code to accept accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and bring local regulations into compliance with Senate Bill 1051, which took effect July 1. The council had to declare an emergency in order to approve the code change last week to comply with the state law.

The changes to the code include aligning the definition of an ADU with SB 1051 and now include ADUs as an acceptable housing type for low-, medium- and high-density residential zoning.

The focus of SB 1051 was to remove barriers to constructing ADUs and to help increase affordable housing options to address the state's housing shortages and booming prices.

In Newberg, the discussion included local housing groups, Habitat for Humanity and the planning commission to write the code amendments.

A sticking point centered on parking near ADUs. The code now reads that ADU owners must provide additional off-street parking that is paved. The concern was the increased cost for paved, off-street parking would drive up construction costs and defeat the purpose of affordable housing.

Testimony from the public, including Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Rick Rogers, prompted the council to keep the parking code as is for the time being, with the opportunity to make revisions later.

"Affordable housing and housing land advocates recommended not to require an off street parking space," Community Development Director Doug Rux said. "However, the planning commission feels that they already have some issues and concerns with residential parking."

"What this is attempting to do is to find ways to reduce barriers," Rogers said. "Housing Newberg, Habit for Humanity, The Fair Housing Council of Oregon, Housing Land Advocates, Affordable Housing Commission, Senate Bill 1051, and the DLCD guidance itself all say not to require off street parking."

Changes to the code that were adopted include allowing ADUs to be either attached or detached from the primary residence, permitting them to be built in R-1 (low density residential), RP (residential professional) and I (institutional) zones, with conditional use permits required for C-2 and C-3 commercial zones. The ADU cannot be partitioned or subdivided from the parcel of the primary unit and the definition was rewritten to remove "one or more rooms with a private bath and kitchen facilities to comprise as independent and self-contained" to "simply an interior, attached or detached residential structure that is used in connection with or that is accessory to a single-family dwelling."

Both the ADU and primary unit can be used as rentals instead of the owner having to be present on the property as before.

Privilege tax increase

The council also approved an increase from 5 to 7 percent on the privilege tax the city charges utility companies.

Privilege taxes are levied on utility companies by cities for use of city right-of-ways, including those levied on natural gas, telecommunications and cable companies. Funds gathered will go into the city's general fund.

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