A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Albany ADUs can be mobile homes

Written January 6th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

I saw this unit at Leisureland Homes off Oakville Road. How would that be as an accessory dwelling?

The Albany City Council gets another chance this week to pass a code change to allow detached “accessory dwelling units” — essentially small second houses –on all single-family residential lots in line with a state mandate.

Mayor Sharon Konopa and a four-member council majority have been at odds on the issue. The four want to allow bigger units with few restrictions such as parking and ownership requirements. The mayor fears this could destroy the character of traditional single-family neighborhoods and create problems with on-street parking. She has used her veto power to block a code change the four voted to pass.

In his regular Friday memo to the council, City Manager Peter Troedsson reminded the members that action on the issue was put off last month “in order to provide opportunity for further consideration, and potentially for direction to staff.” On Wednesday, he said, the council “will again have an opportunity to approve an ordinance which makes only those changes necessary to bring us into compliance with state law.”

The current code allows so-called detached ADUs as big as half the main residence, up to 750 square feet, in some but not all single-family zones. The change blocked by the mayor, which had been approved by the planning commission, would allow units up to 900 square feet.

The other day I saw a grand-looking little house on wheels on the lot of Leisureland Homes at Highway 34 and Oakville Road. I wondered if that sort of dwelling could be set up as an ADU, and the answer appears to be yes.

The question came up before the planning commission on Oct. 15. According to the minutes, commission chair Larry Tomlin “asked whether the provisions would allow mobile homes as ADUs. Staff said they they would.”

Further, commission member Dala Rouse “asked how tiny houses are regulated. Staff said that those are governed primarily by the Building Code.”

That sounds as though if you want to install a “tiny house” in your back yard as an ADU, and it can meet setback and other requirements, even the current code would probably say that’s OK. (hh)

11 responses to “Albany ADUs can be mobile homes”

  1. centrist says:

    Imagine that, there could be another solution!!
    When a problem-solving group locked up, I’d occasionally pull out a nickel (other coins work, but less dependably) stand it onedge, and tell them to find the third solution.

  2. HowlingCicada says:

    What makes “a grand-looking little house” (whether or not it’s on wheels)? Having two (seemingly three, I’m not sure) different roof angles? Having sides that bulge out but not enough to serve as bay windows?

    Maybe I’m just an old crank, but what I see is a micro version of what I complained about on the recent “cheese grater” article. Nevertheless, if this is what it takes to move the housing industry off its “one (too big) size fits everybody” attitude, then I’m all for it.

  3. Michi Kaputnik says:

    But it’s ok for people to live in 5th Wheels & Trailer’s on the side of homes, backyards and even some front yards & streets.

  4. thomas cordier says:

    This fits with the Obama mandate that offspring can/should/plan to stay on their parents health care till age 26. Don’t get educated to build a life for yourself, just stay at home in a nearby cottage

    • Lundy says:

      Counterpoint: Not every life-building 26-year-old has ready access to medical insurance under our health-care system, irrespective of where they live relative to their parents. At 26 my daughter had a bachelor’s and master’s and was halfway to her Ph.D. — 1,200 miles from here. It didn’t seem like such a bad thing that she still qualified to be on a parent’s policy.

      • thomas cordier says:

        to Lundy–perhaps the choice of Bach/Masters and PhD subjects could have been a better one. Even part time work can pay for essentials. Lots of folks get degrees with no/insufficient economic benefits for future independence.

  5. Ray Kopczynski says:

    Before I came off council a week ago, one of the future-topics on our agenda was the fun-stuff surrounding “tiny homes.” If those get conflated with ADUs, that does make for a very interesting mix. :-)

  6. H. R. Richner says:

    Why do we allow state mandates?

  7. Donna Clem says:

    I am so glad that Mrs. Mayor can not tell me what to do on my farm in N. Albany.

  8. J.Jacobson says:

    It seems many are dedicated to the well worn trope, “there goes the neighborhood,” where ADUs are concerned. After analyzing Linn County and Albany voter preferences, this resistance to Granny Shacks seems consistent with local baditudes.

    But first, a bit of etymology on that old adage.

    The phrase, depending on its age, has been applied to immigrant minorities such as German, Irish, Italians, or Eastern Europeans. Migrating African Americans from the South into northern cities and then suburbs is recent. Tension between [Single-family Housing] ‘us’ and ‘them’ [ADUs] is common and older. “No Irish {ADUs} need apply”

    • centrist says:

      Mel Brooks flippantly phrased it well
      We’ll take your n+××÷=s or your c!@#$s, but not your Irish.

      Many folks react negatively when presented with something out of their experience, even if implementation hasn’t happened.

      From 3 Stooges schtick
      Larry —… I’m positive
      Moe — Only fools are positive
      Larry — Are you sure?
      Moe — I’m positive


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