This decision offers homeowners more flexibility in using detached structures for an additional living area, home office or workshop space without requiring a signed and notarized covenant that must be recorded in the county’s deed records.
Detached accessory structures may now include more than one sink, subject to the limits of the Oregon Plumbing Specialty Code or available water based on plumbing fixture counts. Potentially redundant and confusing regulatory approaches between the building and zoning code reviewers are eliminated, as is inconsistency in the review of trade permits for additional plumbing fixtures in these structures.
Building code reviewers will continue to review proposals to determine when new dwelling units are being permitted, based on the Oregon Residential Specialty Code’s definition of a dwelling unit: “independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cookingand sanitation.” For this reason, building code reviewers generally look to “permanent cooking facilities” such as an oven, permanently installed microwave, or vent hood as creating a dwelling unit.
Proposals for additional kitchens within primary structures may be eligible to use Building Official Determination 19-06 for Accessory Kitchens. This option is not available in detached accessory structures that include bathrooms.
Detached accessory structures are still subject to Zoning Code development standards, including maximum floor area ratio, regardless of whether permits are required for their construction. The Zoning Code includes incentives for additional floor area when new dwelling units are added to a site. These incentives do not apply to additional living areas in detached structures.
If you have questions about this change or how it may affect a development project at your home, please schedule a 15-minute appointment with a city planner.