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Albany Council looks ahead on housing bill

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The Albany City Council was reminded Monday that House Bill 2001, a measure passed this year by the Legislature, requires cities to allow multiple-family housing types such as duplexes in neighborhoods.

They were also led through a discussion about what they can do about it.

HB2001 was narrows the space reserved for single-family housing. In cities with more than 25,000 residents, duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes and cottages can be built within single family zoned areas. In cities with at least 10,000 residents, duplexes must be allowed.

On Monday, Patrick Winegard, a local representative of the Department of Land Conservation and Development, told the council that he was working with various local boards ahead of the law's effective date to take their concerns into account.

Mayor Sharon Konopa said she had been an opponent of the bill, concerned it would alter Albany’s neighborhoods and asked Winegard if it could affect the city’s historic districts.

According to Winegard, cities throughout Oregon had protections for their historic districts but duplexes would be allowed anywhere else single family homes are permitted.

The city has until June 2022 to bring its code into compliance with the state law concerning duplexes and other types of housing but in terms of accessory dwelling units Albany remains out of compliance.

“ADUs and the rules around them were immediate,” said Public Works Engineering and Community Development Director Jeff Blaine.

Konopa has twice vetoed a move to alter the city’s code to bring it into compliance with the new ADU law, which allows the structures to be built anywhere single-family housing is allowed.

Blaine reminded the council that the sticking points for the mayor and Councilor Dick Olsen, who also voted against the move, were no longer relevant because they've been included in the new law.

Both Konopa and Olsen said they worried about street parking if the city allowed ADUs and wanted to include a requirement surrounding owner occupancy. However, HB2001 prohibits cities from creating rules around those issues in relation to ADUs.

Winegard said cities’ concerns surrounding HB2001 could be taken into account as the law is rolled out over the next year and a half and further clarifications could be made. Blaine, for example, said it was unclear whether cities could apply for an extension to become compliant if they face significant infrastructure barriers.

Winegard’s presentation was for informational purposes and the council took no action.

This article originally ran on democratherald.com.

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