A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Albany mayor ends ADU fight with council

Written August 10th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

Mayor Konopa, top left, during Monday’s virtual council meeting. She yielded to end a dispute over the size of ADUs.

Two years after it began in July 2018, the accessory-dwelling dispute between Albany Mayor Sharon Konopa and four city council members ended this afternoon when the mayor gave in.

At a council work session, Konopa expressed her frustration with the legislature’s push for more housing density while barring cities from requiring more off-street parking. And with the state imposing requirements that she thinks will harm the livability of neighborhoods, she abandoned her insistence that accessory dwelling units or ADUs be no bigger than 750 square feet, which is the limit set by the Albany development code.

Instead, she accepted a code change allowing ADUs of up to 900 square feet, which is what four council members had wanted and voted for at least twice over the last two years. Those votes prompted two vetoes by the mayor.

The issue Monday was a set of changes to make the city’s development code comply with state law on where ADUs must be allowed and what restrictions may be placed on their construction.

With the size dispute settled, the council voted 5-1 to have an ordinance drafted to make the several changes. The ordinance will come up Wednesday night at the council’s regular meeting. Dick Olsen opposes the larger ADUs and voted no.

Thousand Friends of Oregon, a land-use watchdog group, had threatened to seek state enforcement against the city unless it changed its code language to, among other things, allow ADUs anywhere the state law now says they must be allowed. But it held off because of the COVID crisis.

Albany officials had been granting permits based on the state law, which leaves the size of ADUs up to local jurisdictions. They wanted the local code changed anyway in order to avoid confusion.

Councilwoman Bessie Johnson told Konopa she appreciated the mayor’s concession on the 900 square feet and said she did not expect to see many ADUs of that size being built. (hh)

12 responses to “Albany mayor ends ADU fight with council”

  1. John Klock says:

    I’m glad that the city council decided to put more traffic on the streets. Whew…relieved. I’m also glad that my fellow Albany citizens decided that they can’t take care of Grandma inside their own homes and enjoy her company, rather than putting her in a tiny home in the back yard.

  2. Lundy says:

    Perhaps I’ll be proven wrong, but from the start this as struck me as a lot of fuss over nothing. I just can’t see a widespread desire to build ADUs, of any size.

  3. John Robinson says:

    From the beginning the Mayor was wrong. All of her foot dragging and delays over 2 years for nothing. Maybe she would like to re-imburse the City for the cost of staff time and the countless council meetings, multiple vetos, etc. What a waste of time on something so absolutely simple. Imagine that some other more important problem could have been solved if the Mayor had not put all of her effort, energy and time into being a roadblock to progress. Rest assured Albany will not turn into a slum because of ADU’s. As I pointed out many times with factual data, other City’s with 900 sq. ft. ADU’s have not turned into slums. This issue just points out why it is time for a new Mayor in Albany.

  4. Mike Quinn says:

    Well in the defense of the mayor she can now go back and look at dog laws and cat laws, and tree laws, and chicken laws. Then some one can start a law suit against her for wasting staff time and pay back staff time just like when she signed off on suing Pepsi corp for 25 mil and had that fund pay back for the city’s time involved in the process which we all know the staff was paid for out of general funding. So where did that go? Now that’s a idea to ponder. WHERE IS THE BALANCE?

  5. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Let’s not forget that five members of the council can override the Mayor’s veto. On two previous occasions the council could not override because Bill Coburn sided with the Mayor.

    You make no mention of him.

    I assume Coburn caved when the Mayor ended her silly opposition effort. Nice flip flop, Bill.

    Such drama. Such a waste of scarce time and resources. Albany needs a change in City Hall.

  6. Russ Tripp says:


    • H. R. Richner says:

      So did I. 1000 Friends of Oregon look to me like a Mafia with a halo. If we ever wonder how our towns lost to the State their freedom to deal with their real properties, we have to look no further than at this elitist, invasive organization.

  7. Sidney Cooper says:

    Such a political battle over a lousy 150 sqft. I side with the Mayor and not the four council people who made such a silly stand. More traffic in the streets indeed! I can hear the ceaseless tires downtown from my house at 2 am, 4 am. One of the silver linings of the COVID lockdown was QUIET.

  8. Bill Kapaun says:

    I’d rather see them fighting amongst themselves instead of CONSPIRING to extract additional revenue from the rest of us.
    Did Konopa get a letter from Kate to quit fighting state laws that our socialist state government keeps enacting?

  9. Katherine says:

    Finally I can provide affordable housing for at least one small family. So happy we are on board with with what other communities are doing in the state and around the country. Time to modify my floor plan. I lived in a home 100 feet more then this with my husband for over 12 years. It’s amazing how little space we need to live comfortably .

  10. James Engel says:

    Well poop, both my grannies are dead, so are the “old goat” guys so no ADU’s for them. O.K. Katherine, housing for those poor souls BUT what about all the crap they bring along with them…unlicensed/uncared for dogs, their “stuff”– consider the occupy Portland bunch & trash coming here, the demand they make for services to make them “comfortable”. NOT in my neighborhood deary!!…

  11. Cheryl P says:

    It’s the only thing I have agreed with the Mayor about. Such a shame.


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