City council chooses to keep ADU recommendations
This story has been updated from its original version
In a rare moment of disagreement among Wilsonville City Council members, Wilsonville Mayor Tim Knapp and Councilor Charlotte Lehan did not see eye-to-eye about whether to allow new subdivisions to prevent the development of accessory dwelling units — which are small dwelling structures that sit next to residential homes — at a council work session Monday, Sept. 17.
Lehan did not want to restrict neighborhoods from prohibiting ADUs because she was wary of going against the Wilsonville Planning Commission's recommendation to avoid implementing the policy without a persuasive reason. And, though Knapp expressed distaste for the idea of allowing a few subdivisions throughout the city to disallow ADUs while the vast majority allow them, he accepted Lehan's preference because of a lack of consensus on the council.
The City will vote on whether to approve the new ADU requirements at a later date.
"I'm reluctant to, unless I have a really good reason, to go against the planning commission and I don't think there is a clear and present danger here," Lehan said. "I think it's unlikely that they (new subdivisions) will ban ADUs because there is too many people for whom it will be important."
State Senate Bill 1051, which was passed in 2017, mandated cities with a population greater than 2,500 remove ADU development barriers. Wilsonville's deliberations are a part of that process.
During a planning commission public hearing in July, the group requested that City staff change the initial draft of its proposal by removing a section that would outlaw new subdivisions from disallowing ADUs, loosening lot coverage requirements for ADU properties and establishing more architectural requirements for ADU development. The City made such changes to the code and the commission approved the new standards at a meeting Sept. 12. However, the council has the final say.
Wilsonville Assistant City Attorney Amanda Guile-Hinman pointed out that the Metro regional government would likely require Wilsonville to prevent subdivisions from outlawing ADUs in Frog Pond East and South if they were to authorize Wilsonville's request to extend the urban growth boundary to include those areas. And both Wilsonville staff and Councilor Susie Stevens, who has experience working with homeowners associations, did not know of any neighborhoods in Wilsonville that forbade ADUs. In turn, Knapp felt that the possibility of subdivisions disallowing ADUs solely in the Frog Pond West development, which is slated to begin soon, would be inconsistent.
"I personally feel like we ought to be consistent throughout the city and if we are talking increasingly about housing challenges and the availability of the missing middle housing ... It seems to me we ought to be consistent about whether or not we think that this is an appropriate piece of that," he said.
In its initial draft, the City allowed more lot coverage latitude for many ADUs across the City, depending on which neighborhood, but switched back to the current lot coverage requirements based on the commission's recommendation.
Also, based on the planning commission recommendations, the City added a few design standards for pitch and roof material. For instance, based on the proposed code, an ADU can either match the roof material of its accompanying residential home or another residential home within a subdivision.
"It gives it that variety that it fits with the compatibility concept while giving that flexibility to not drive up cost of that ADU. If a primary dwelling unit has cedar shingles and another unit has composite shingles you can do composite shingles," Pauly said.
Stevens said ADUs could be valuable for many families but also accepted the consensus to keep the Commission's recommendations. Councilors Scott Starr and Kristin Akervall were not present at the meeting.
"(An ADU is) a benefit in many different ways. It allows latitude for the homeowner to be able to have their relative or someone live there or a tenant," Stevens said.
Big Pipe Project update
Also during the work session, Willamette Water Supply Program coordinators provided an update on a project that will implement a 30-mile water pipeline from Wilsonville to Hillsboro.
The project will provide more water for jurisdictions such as Hillsboro and Beaverton while Wilsonville will also add 5 million gallons per day. Wilsonville will invest $125,000 in construction costs for the project and be paid $17 million in prepaid rents by 2026 for the hassle of construction to the community.
The first part of the project in Wilsonville, which is slated to begin and end in 2019, would place the pipe along Kinsman Road from the east side of S.W. Arrowhead Creek near the Willamette River Water Treatment Plant and then stop a few hundred feet across Wilsonville Road. WWSP staff are still working on a traffic plan for construction at the Wilsonville Road crossing. WWSP wants to finish this phase before the Fifth Street-to-Kinsman Road extension is completed.
"We accelerated this project because we want to get our pipeline in before your Fifth Street (extension) because that's going to change the traffic and South Kinsman is going to become a pretty busy road once that's done," said Mike Britch, the Willamette Water Supply engineering and construction manager. "
The second phase of the project, which is slated to start in 2019 and end in 2020, would run the pipe along S.W. Garden Acres Road from S.W.
Ridder Road to S.W. Day Road.
And the last phase would include construction from S.W. Boeckman Road to S.W. Ridder Road along S.W. 95th Ave. as well as along Kinsman Road between Wilsonville Road and S.W. Barbur St. This project is scheduled to begin in 2020 and finish in 2022.
Britch said that if they use WWSP's preferred construction method, the first phase of the project would be done solely at night and traffic would not be interrupted during
the day. However, he said one lane of traffic is likely to be closed during construction on the north end of Kinsman Road.
"The best way to manage that is (to keep open) one lane heading southbound. You need to maintain truck traffic heading southbound so it doesn't get stuck on the Boones Ferry and Wilsonville Road intersection," Britch said.
Additionally, WWSP will implement water pumps to the pump station at the treatment plant and seismic improvements. This part of the project will involve two steps, the second of which will be completed in 2026.
"The first package is all the stuff that's in the ground that's gonna be really intrusive. It's all the ground improvements, shoring up the caisson(a watertight chamber used as a gate across the entrance of a basin). The later package is the mechanical stuff and the motors," Britch said.
Willamette Water Supply engineering and construction manager Mike Britch's name was incorrectly spelled in a previous version of this story.