Albany City Hall STOCK PIX

Albany City Hall

The city of Albany will remain out of compliance with state law in regard to accessory dwelling units after Mayor Sharon Konopa promised again Wednesday night to veto yes votes by four councilors to adopt changes to its development code.

The council had three options: to adopt an ordinance that changed city code to meet the state’s minimum standards or one that included local discretionary changes to the current code, or to adopt a hybrid of the two.

But proposed state legislation by Rep. Tina Kotek complicated the issue of ADUs locally.

Konopa cited a hearing held earlier in the week for Kotek’s proposed House Bill 2001, which addresses affordable housing by requiring cities with populations greater than 10,000 residents to allow “middle housing” on land zoned for single-family dwellings within the urban growth boundary. Middle housing is defined by Kotek as duplexes, triplexes and quads.

The mayor informed the council that the bill contained language concerning ADUs and the authority cities would have over instituting regulations for parking and owner-occupation.

“I feel it is so important to protect the land use in our city. I want to fight this all we can,” Konopa said, suggesting that the council wait to take action until after the legislative session.

“What does pending legislation have to do with what’s before us today?” councilor Mike Sykes asked, noting that the council had been debating ADUs for months.

Senate Bill 1051, which took effect in August 2017, amended an Oregon state statute to mandate that cities with populations greater than 2,500 allow at least one accessory dwelling in areas zoned for detached single-family homes. To comply with state law, the city has to amend its development code.

In July 2018, the council approved the proposed code change that would remove ADU restrictions, with a vote of 4-2. Konopa, citing concerns over street parking and the environment in single-family neighborhoods, issued a veto. The majority did not have enough votes to overturn her decision.

The current Albany Development Code allows for ADUs that do not exceed 750 square feet in certain mixed-use zones. The city code does not allow detached ADUs in all areas of the city that also permit single-family homes as required by state law since August 2017.

SB 1051 allows for cities to apply “reasonable regulations relating to siting and design” of ADUs. But those requirements are not necessary for the city to come into compliance with the new state law. City staff provided two proposals, one that included local regulations and one that did not.

Councilor Bill Coburn called for the council to vote on the ordinances and “move on.”

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Konopa warned that she would entertain a vote, but would veto any decision that approved the ordinance put forth by staff including revisions to the development code surrounding siting and design standards for ADUs.

Councilors Alex Johnson II, Bessie Johnson, Rich Kellum and Sykes voted in favor of adopting the ordinance. Dick Olsen and Coburn voted against.

Konopa said she would take the issue up again this summer after the legislative session.

“You can veto,” Kellum said. “But we can vote to override your veto and at some point there might be a fifth vote. It’s not a done deal.”

During a separate agenda item that allowed for business from the council, Konopa asked if the body would like to take a position on HB 2001. The council declined.

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