Accessory dwelling units (ADUs), also known as mother-in-law quarters, are popular to homeowners for multigenerational living and are often converted to rentals for additional income. This year, the housing shortage in Bend has led to a closer look at the possibility that ADUs may be used to help add affordable housing and increase density within the urban growth boundary. Typically, building cost per square foot is much less expensive for an ADU than new home construction because the land, utilities, roads and sidewalks are already in place.
ADUs, such as backyard cottages, take many forms. For the city's purposes, an accessory dwelling unit means a small, secondary dwelling unit on a lot or parcel with a single-family dwelling unit as a primary use. Previously, ADUs in Bend had a size limit of 600 square feet or 40 percent of the size of the main house, whichever was less. In February, Bend City Council voted five to two to relax ADU requirements, discussing lower permit fees, parking requirements, size and other issues to make it easier for homeowners to add ADUs.
Increasing density and thereby providing more housing through ADUs is an issue being discussed in several cities of the West, including Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, Canada. The Vancouver model allows the ADUs to be developed as condos, creating less expensive housing options for first-time homebuyers and others.
There are many interesting and creative solutions to increase available housing in existing neighborhoods that could address affordable housing needs. Bend's recent review of its ADU ordinances in regard to the city's development code may be somewhat less progressive than other cities, but shows proactive attention to the housing shortage.
1552 NE 5th St, Bend, OR 97701
1 beds, 1 baths, 680 square feet,
.14 acre lot | Built in 1929
Listed by Bend Premier Real Estate LLC
19799 Galileo Ave, Bend, OR 97702
3 beds, 2.5 baths, 1546 square feet,
.10 acre lot | Built in 2003
Listed by Coldwell Banker Morris Real Estate
1470 NW Puccoon Ct, Bend, OR 97701
3 beds, 2.5 baths, 2975 square feet,
1.08 acre lot | Built in 2016
Listed by Harcourts The Garner Group Real Estate
Photos and listing info from Central Oregon Multiple Listing Service