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    Commissioners set hearing to discuss accessory dwelling units

    Posted by: Board of Commissioners Office

    ​Small cottage, tiny house, and basement or garage apartments are all commonly used terms to describe an accessory dwelling unit, or ADU. ADUs are small secondary dwellings on the same property as, or attached to, a single-family residence and are often used as housing for family members or caretakers. As Marion County continues to find additional ways to support families with affordable housing options, the commissioners are considering amendments to the Urban Zone Code to permit ADUs within urban growth boundaries outside of city limits.

    The Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, November 29, 2017, at 9:30 a.m. to receive input from the public on the proposal. The hearing is set as part of the commissioners' regular Board Session agenda and will be held in the Senator Hearing Room at Courthouse Square located at 555 Court Street NE in Salem. The Marion County Planning Commission also held a public hearing in August and presented their findings to the board at a recent work session.

    "If we can find convenient, affordable ways for families to maximize housing options on their property without negatively impacting neighbors, then we see this as a win-win," said Commissioner Kevin Cameron. "Our communities, similar to others around Oregon, are experiencing affordable housing shortages and this is one way the county can help."

    Potential standards related to ADUs include:

    • Types of ADU – attached, interior, detached;
    • Maximum size;
    • Where on the property an ADU may be located;
    • Height, setbacks, and parking standards;
    • Whether the ADU unit can be rented and rental duration; and 
    • Residential zones where ADUs would be allowed.

    Draft standards and additional information are available on the Planning Division website

    For anyone unable to attend the hearing, written testimony will also be accepted until 4 p.m. on Tuesday, November 28. Testimony must include the name and address of the person commenting and may be sent to Marion County Planning Division, 5155 Silverton Road NE, Salem, OR 97305, or emailed to

    For additional information, contact Senior Planner Brandon Reich at (503) 566-4175 or ​

    Commissioners set hearing to discuss accessory dwelling units
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