Accessory Dwelling Units

An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a small, self-contained dwelling that is allowed in conjunction with a primary dwelling. An ADU has a separate entrance, kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping area. An ADU can be an apartment created within an existing home or garage, an addition onto a home or above a garage, built as a freestanding cottage, created by converting an existing dwelling (of less than 800 square feet) and building a primary dwelling, or designed and constructed as part of a new housing development.

Credit: Small Home Oregon Podcast on Springfield ADUs

Great for Springfield residents, this podcast from October 2019 defines ADUs and explains how and why the City of Springfield is encouraging them. Local homeowner Karen McLaughlin and ADU designer Tobin Newburgh describe their experience designing and building an ADU in Springfield. The episode also touches on the process of obtaining ADU permits. (Please note that the requirements for developing an ADU in Springfield have changed somewhat since this podcast was recorded.)

Temporary Waiver of System Development Charges for ADUs

Through June 30, 2027 (subject to annual review) the City of Springfield is waiving transportation, stormwater, and local wastewater system development charges (SDCs) for newly permitted ADUs. This waiver reduces the cost of constructing an ADU (read more about Springfield’s SDCs here). The Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission has budgeted funds to offset the SDCs for ADUs that are newly constructed homes. In August 2018, Springfield Utility Board reduced its SDCs for ADUs (read more here). Note that SDCs imposed by Willamalane Park and Recreation District are still in effect.

Changes to Springfield’s Development Code Regarding ADUs

Code requirements can be found in Section 3.2.275 of the Springfield Development Code.

On May 16, 2022, the City Council adopted Ordinance 6443 to amend the Development Code to streamline the code and make it easier to use. The changes incorporate requirements from House Bill 2001 (passed by the Oregon legislature in 2019) which is primarily for middle housing but also prevents cities from requiring parking for ADUs.

ADU house

Applying for an ADU

In most cases, use the Accessory Dwelling Unit Type 1 application form, which can be found here to apply for an ADU. If your property is in the Washburne Historic District, or if you are meeting alternative design standards, please use the Accessory Dwelling Unit Type 2 application form, which can be found here.  Check here to view the fees associated with Type 1 and Type 2 Land Use applications for ADUs. Once you have obtained land use approval, you may apply for a Building Permit Application and Land Drainage and Alteration Permit (if required).

Call the planner on duty at 541-726-3753 if you have questions about the application process or questions specific to adding an ADU on your property.

Background: Springfield’s Affordable Housing Strategy

The City Council wants Springfield to be a family-friendly community for all people in every phase of life; whether it’s just starting out with a new family, or downsizing to a smaller home. There is a lack of available housing for all income levels in Springfield, and existing housing is expensive. Learn more about the City’s affordable housing strategy here.

Accessory dwelling units benefit the community by:

  • Increasing the number and type of affordable housing units without consuming land in the city’s limited inventory of undeveloped land.  In particular, they increase the supply of small rental units which is where the rental market is currently the tightest.
  • Increasing density in existing neighborhoods, taking advantage of existing infrastructure.
  • Creating opportunities for intergenerational living, on-site caretakers/assistants.
  • Diversifying the demographics of an existing neighborhood.
  • Providing financial benefit to the property owner.
  • Triggering economic development at a local scale through local builders/contractors.

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