After a series of public hearings before the City of Hood River Planning Commission and City Council, updated zoning regulations for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) became effective in May, 2019. ADUs are smaller secondary living units constructed on a residential lot with a single-family dwelling.
The City’s new Ordinance 2050 removes several barriers to ADU development. The three main changes to ADU code are:
- Property owners are not required to reside on the property.
- Providing off-street parking is not a prerequisite for ADU permits.
- It is no longer necessary that tenants of ADUs meet specified criteria, such as being employed locally.
System Development Charges (SDCs) also were identified as obstacles for ADU development. Because they are smaller and tend to house fewer people, it stands to reason that impacts of ADUs are less and they should be charged less. When an ADU shares water and sanitary sewer connections with a primary dwelling, SDCs for water and sanitary sewer system improvements are not charged for an ADU. All in all, City of Hood River permit fees are now estimated to be around 25% of a 1500 sq. ft. single-family home. Even when adding SDCs from other agencies, overall permitting costs for ADUs are significantly less.
Homeowners who have established guest units are encouraged to check into converting units into code compliant ADUs, as the updated zoning regulations may make development more feasible. For property located in the City, owners should contact the Hood River planning department first about obtaining a zoning permit, and also follow up with the City’s building and engineering departments to verify building permit requirements.