▶️ Deschutes County discusses rural ADUs to fight housing crisis


As Deschutes County searches for ways to help with the housing crisis, one idea was discussed in a Public Hearing Thursday night. Senate Bill 391, passed in 2021, allows counties to have rural accessory dwelling units (ADUs).

“This is Deschutes County’s attempt to craft that state program into a local program,” said Deschutes County Associate Planner Kyle Collins.

Senate Bill 391 established baseline requirements including things like:

  • The lot must be two (2) acres or larger
  • One single-family dwelling must be sited on the lot
  • The ADU is limited to 900 square feet of usable floor space

RELATED: A guide to developing ADUs –Accessory Dwelling Units–available online

“The senate ultimately left those up individual jurisdictions on how they want to implement those, so that’s a portion of the public hearing process, for decision-makers, in this case, the planning commission to vet those and decide what they think the appropriate interpretations are,” said Collins.

Another portion of the hearing listened to public comments, both for and against.

“They increase sprawl, usually. They are far away from public services and amenities,” said Central Oregon Landwatch attorney Rory Ibell. “They tend to burden their inhabitants with long transportation costs and long car commutes that increase greenhouse gas emissions.”

“They don’t have the money, don’t have a place to leave, and it becomes very difficult and this is something that can help them as well,” said another public commenter.

Rural ADUs can only happen once a state wildfire risk map is complete and released. It was announced Thursday that a new draft of that map will be relased March 1, 2023 and a final version won’t come out until late 2023.

RELATED: New Oregon wildfire risk map is coming

Until then, the rural ADU timeline gets pushed back.

“No one would actually be able to apply and begin constructing an ADU until that map is finalized,” said Collins. “So, we are probably looking at late 2023 based on that timeline that has been presented by the Department of Forestry.”

The planning commissions allowed the continuation of written public comment until September 29 and will hold deliberations on October 13.

After deliberations, the planning commission will recommend proposed amendments for rural ADU’s to county commissioners.

For more information contact

Kyle Collins, Associate Planner


(541) 383-4427


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