Astoria’s new rules aimed at streamlining the process and encouraging more residents to consider adding accessory dwelling units to existing homes was passed the city council Monday night. Councilor Price was the lone no vote as she was for the first reading. Price objects to the provision in city code that permits accessory dwelling units as an outright use in some residential zones without further review.
Accessory dwelling units (ADU) are often described as “mother-in-law’ apartments. These are self-contained units that may or may not be part of a home or detached. Garages that have been converted into small apartments might be a good example. Early in the process “Tiny Homes” were considered for inclusion but after much discussion the city council decided that those type of structures are different in many ways and require further discussion.
The new ordinance specifies a prohibition against using a new ADU as a short term rental. The complication comes with existing ADU’s being used as “Home Stay” units on a short term basis. The intent of the council is to allow those already in operation to continue but there are specific requirements involved. Home Stay lodging is permitted in some residential zones outright but as a conditional use in R-1 zones. That means R1 home stays are subject to review and approval by the city
The entire issue of existing home stays will be the subject of a council work session in the future. Depending on exactly what the resident would like to build determines how that addition becomes defined as a new ADU
If you would like more information on what is allowed under the new ADU rules contact the City of Astoria Planning Department.
The new rules will be reviewed in a year to determine how effective they are accomplishing the council goal of increasing long term housing for the town.