How To Build An Accessory Dwelling Unit in Central Oregon

Posted :
January 28, 2022
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Arbor Builders
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If you’re familiar with Central Oregon, you’re fully aware that the rental market is tight. The region’s reputation as being a good place to live has only skyrocketed with the advent of remote work. And while more inventory is on the way, we all know it will be a long time before the new apartment complexes you saw on the news will be tenant-ready. That’s why you might want to consider building an accessory dwelling unit on your property.

These secondary living spaces, also known as mother-in-law suites, granny flats, carriage house, or secondary dwelling units, can provide you with an extra source of income and the added sense of security that comes with knowing your family members or future caregivers will have a nearby space they can call their own.

And if you work with a professional design-builder team like the one we have at Arbor Builders, you can make sure your latest above-the-garage apartment puts the one Kirk Cameron stayed at in “Growing Pains” to shame.

Building an ADU in Central Oregon

Over the past five years, state officials have recognized the role accessory dwelling units can play in alleviating our current housing crisis. Gov. Kate Brown and members of the Oregon State Legislature have passed new laws that have:

  • Required every city with 2,500 or more residents to come up with a set of rules allowing people to build at least one accessory dwelling unit on their land,
  • Required every county with 15,000 or more residents to let people build an accessory dwelling unit on land that’s within a city’s urban growth boundary, and 
  • Barred localities from setting up rules that might require property owners to provide an off-street parking space tied to the accessory dwelling unit or live in the accessory dwelling unit or the primary residence it’s linked to.

And just this past November, Brown signed a bill into law that lets county governments decide whether they want accessory dwelling units in their rural areas. The Deschutes County Board of Supervisors is currently discussing this issue. It may soon adopt a new policy that would allow you to build an accessory dwelling unit on any residential property you own in Bend, La Pine, Redmond, Sisters, Sunriver, Tumalo, and Terrebonne.

The nitty-gritty

One of the most important things to remember when building an accessory dwelling unit in Oregon is that one locality’s rules may be a little different from another locality’s rules. For instance, Bend’s accessory dwelling unit regulations:

  • Bar homeowners from building more than one accessory dwelling unit on a single piece of property
  • Limit the size of the building to 800 square feet of enclosed floor space
  • Require a six-foot buffer between the accessory dwelling unit’s outer walls and the primary residence’s outer walls.

Accessory dwelling units are also considered to be accessory structures like a garage or a storage shed and must comply with your zoning district’s setback and lot coverage rules. And if that wasn’t enough, the city has a particular set of rules for building an accessory dwelling unit in Northwest Crossing or any of its historic districts.

It’s enough to make your head spin. That’s why it’s important to work with a company like Arbor Builders, who has a team of experts ready to answer your questions about the rules and regulations you may face when building an accessory dwelling unit in Central Oregon. 

Our team of experts can also answer questions that have to do with how an accessory dwelling unit might affect your home’s value or your property taxes, how you can pay for an accessory dwelling unit construction project, and what are some popular accessory dwelling unit designs might fit in with your home’s general aesthetic,

When it comes to the question of “is building a secondary dwelling unit worth it?”, the obvious answer is a resounding yes–especially if you’re building in a place like Central Oregon, where the housing market is excruciatingly tight. The better question is, “who will help me do it?” and we at Arbor Builders are here and happy to help. Call one of our representatives today, and we’ll be glad to get you started.

Advice from an award-winning home builder

This article is part of a series of blog posts that we at Arbor Builders are putting together to walk you through the home-building process. We are an award-winning home builder and would like to use this opportunity to highlight our recent accomplishments at the Central Oregon Builders Associations 2021 Tour of Homes.

In addition to receiving the Best in Show prize for homes in the $325,000 to $350,000 price category, our Canyon Rim Village model home won the awards for:

  • Best Architectural Design
  • Best Feature (fireplace)
  • Best Interior Finish
  • Best Kitchen
  • Best Landscaping
  • Best Master Suite
  • Best Value

You can view the full list of Tour of Homes award recipients by clicking here. Don’t forget to call one of our agents today so you can learn more about these award-winning features and how you could feature them in your next home.

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