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Sharon Konopa 2018.jpg

Sharon Konopa 

Albany Mayor Sharon Konopa has once again vetoed an attempt to ease restrictions on accessory dwelling units, sending the issue back to the city council to try again.

The veto means the ordinance comes up again at the council's next meeting, Dec. 3, and must receive five votes in order to pass.

Members of the Albany City Council voted 4-2 on Wednesday to ease restrictions on ADUs within areas zoned for single-family residences, allowing them to be bigger and have one on-street parking place if they don't have room for three off-site spots.

The amendment also removes a restriction that the owner must live in either the primary residence or the ADU, meaning both could be rented.

Konopa said she objects to the amendments for a variety of reasons, but was particularly struck by the change in the owner-occupancy rules.

Konopa said she agreed with a letter she received from a resident urging her to veto the most recent amendments.

In the letter, Camron Settlemier said he believes removal of the restriction will allow outside developers to add ADUs to existing single-family homes and then resell them, regardless of the potential effect on local neighborhoods.

"Given the price of bare land, this will become irresistible low-hanging fruit for 'investors,' and the character of Albany will forever be changed," he wrote.

Konopa said she feels like the council needs to consider that issue more closely.

"We didn't think about that. We didn't really look into that," she said.

Councilors Dick Olsen and Bill Coburn voted against the code amendments Wednesday and also voted no on an earlier attempt in July.

Accessory dwelling units are detached, extra living units on property that also contains a primary dwelling. Residents often use them as inlaw apartments or room for grown children.

Konopa has said more than once she doesn't like the idea of ADUs at all, saying they have the potential to strain city services and create parking problems by making neighborhoods bigger than originally planned.

However, the state has mandated that cities of a certain size allow the dwellings anywhere within areas zoned for single-family residences. That's prompting updates in Albany's city development code, which previously restricted where ADUs can be.

If Albany has to have ADUs, Konopa has said she wants Albany to stick with its current size restrictions: no larger than half the size of the primary dwelling, or up to 750 square feet, whichever is smaller.

Councilors had voted to allow units of up to 900 square feet, which prompted both Konopa's first veto in July and her second on Friday, and added to her decision to veto again Friday.

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