City addresses new accessory dwelling unit requirements with small changes to code

ASPOKESMAN FILE PHOTO - New Pahlisch Homes development in the Frog Pond area of Wilsonville will include more open space than the developer initially planned. fter Wilsonville City Council requested for Pahlisch Homes to add more open space to its residential development plans in Frog Pond West at the June 18 meeting, the developer satisfied the City's request.

In turn, the council unanimously approved resolutions to annex approximately 20 acres of land to the north of Boeckman Road and rezone the Pahlisch land from Farm Forest 5-acre to Residential Neighborhood, a new residential zoning code specific to Frog Pond, at the July 2 meeting.

Wilsonville Council President Scott Starr expressed appreciation to Pahlisch Homes for altering the plan to include more open space.

"I just want to say that this move didn't come without a cost and I want to recognize that," Council President Scott Starr said to the Pahlisch representatives. "I just want to say thank you to your clients for their flexibility for what I think would achieve a common good for not only the viability of what you're building but for the city as well."

The Pahlisch Homes development, which will include 81 4,000-6,000 foot lots, initially included 82 lots but the developer removed one of the lots from the plan and replaced it with more than 3,000 feet of open space to an open space area that is now 11,000 feet. The initial plan met the City's open space requirements but included more pedestrian trails and less space for activities than Wilsonville councilors would have liked.

"It looks like this could open up a little more air and life and sight for that trailhead area too," Councilor Kristin Akervall said. "I'm seeing more benefits to having that open space and I feel like it could be an exciting part of the neighborhood and this development."

ADUs addressed at work session

Wilsonville staff presented a plan to tweak City code to account for Senate Bill 1051 — a state law passed in 2017 designed to prevent cities from imposing onerous restrictions on accessory dwelling unit developments — at the council work session.

Wilsonville already allows ADUs but must change a few provisions to meet the new standards.

Proposed changes include establishing that ADUs can be developed on areas where off-street parking isn't available if on-street parking is available, allowing one ADU per single family home rather than per lot, mandating that ADUs can't contribute to density calculations, honing the code so that it's clear and objective and other minor tweaks.

Wilsonville Senior Planner Daniel Pauly also said the new plan will allow lots that include accessory dwelling units to cover a greater portion of the land with housed structures than under the current code.

"Lot coverage has an important impact on character. It's a balance of being reasonable, not just giving away all lot coverage, because that has some importance, but also balancing that with an allowance to have more flexibility to (build) ADUs if they so choose," he said.

Currently, homeowner associations are allowed to limit ADU development and can continue to do so under the new code. However, Pauly said the City is planning to alter the code for new developments.

"You can't change what exists in existing neighborhoods but what we can do is prohibit new subdivisions that come in from having restrictions on ADUs," Pauly said.

The City's records indicate that less than 10 ADUs have been built in Wilsonville and City Manager Bryan Cosgrove said ADUs currently don't cause parking scarcity.

"If every neighborhood in Wilsonville said they wanted to build ADUs we would have a parking problem," Cosgrove said at the work session. "It's not a huge issue right now in terms of the parking problem. The parking problem we have is that residential neighborhoods are flanked by apartment buildings."

The Wilsonville Planning Commission will address the code amendments at the July 11 meeting and the City Council will consider the amendments at an undetermined date.

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