This work begins in 2022.

Available and affordable housing was a significant challenge to Wasco County’s future identified by participants during Wasco County 2040. Staff engaged citizens with potential solutions, including eliminating prohibition against single wide mobile homes, allowing for accessory dwelling units in rural residential zones, and streamlining any other regulation that may reduce affordability and availability of housing in Wasco County. The public was all in favor of adopting or removing criteria and regulation based on these solutions and generally opening up opportunities for alternative dwelling types.

This work task will encompass these topics and ask for significant public input in developing criteria, regulation, or eliminating regulation from the Land Use and Development Ordinance (LUDO) to increase opportunities for housing in Wasco County.

Accessory dwelling units will be constrained by several factors in state law that were written into legislation (SB 391) that allows for future rural residential ADUs:

  • Must be in a rural residential zone (not allowed in farm, forest, commercial, industrial, or other zones). For Wasco County, rural residential zones are: RR -2, RR-10, TV-RR, WAM-R2. WAM-R5
  • Lots/parcels that are two (2) acres or greater
  • One single family dwelling sited on lot/parcel
  • The property must not have any current code compliance complaints
  • Must be serviced by a structural fire protection service provider (cannot be ODF)
  • Complies with all applicable state laws relating to water supply, sanitation, and wastewater disposal
  • Limited to 900 square feet of useable floor space
  • Cannot be located more than 100 feet from the existing single family dwelling
  • Cannot be used for short term vacation rental/occupancy
  • Cannot be subdivided
  • Must have defensible space and fuel break standards consistent with Fire Safety Standards (Chapter 10) and any Rural Fire Protection District’s request
  • If the lot/arcel is within the Wildland Urban Interface as defined by ODF Mapping (SB 762), but will be required to follow home hardening standards (State Building Codes Services) and defensible space standards (Office of State Fire Marshal).

In order for Wasco County to permit ADUs in rural residential zones, the work associated with the wildfire omnibus bill (SB 762 (2021) and 1533 (2022)). The published maps, rules, and information are still pending and expected some in 2023, although no schedule has of yet been released.

Another piece of examining housing in the Wasco County LUDO is to understand current restrictions on the size of accessory structures. Currently, in all zones, accessory structures (detached garages, sheds, RV covers, etc.) are restricted to 75% of the dwelling size. This does not include agricultural structures (barns, equipment sheds, etc.). In part, this is because accessory structures are intended to be incidental to the primary use/structure (typically a home). This is not an unusual standard for zoning codes; many zoning codes have a maximum size restriction on accessory structures. In general this is to keep properties generally compatible in terms of use and aesthetics and to reduce unpermitted activity in accessory structures like commercial businesses that may create neighborhood nuisances. Some citizens have expressed an interest in re-evaluating or eliminating the restriction on the size of accessory structures. We are interested in your feedback:

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