14 Jul ADU Construction: Overcoming Challenges in Medford
In recent years, ADU construction has surged in popularity across the US. They’re viewed as a potential solution to affordable housing shortages, a source of supplemental income for homeowners, and a way to increase density in residential neighborhoods. In Medford, Oregon, the local government has introduced various initiatives to encourage the construction of ADUs. However, building an ADU in Medford comes with its own set of challenges. Let’s take a look at these obstacles and how to overcome them, leveraging the city’s initiatives.
Understanding the Medford ADU Construction Landscape
The city of Medford offers a unique set of rules and incentives for ADU construction. Under a program running from December 1, 2020, to June 30, 2024, new ADU building permits can enjoy a 50% reduction in System Development Charges (SDC). This applies to Transportation, Sanitary Sewer Collection, Stormwater, and Parks fees but not Sanitary Sewer Treatment.
On top of this, the City Council has dedicated additional funds to cover the remaining 50% of these fees, including the Sanitary Sewer Treatment fee. This part of the program will continue through June 30, 2024, or until the additional funds are exhausted. This program applies only to new ADUs, with existing ones not qualifying.
To qualify for this reduction, property owners must meet several conditions. They must agree not to use the ADU as a short-term rental for ten years from the City’s acceptance of the application, execute a Restrictive Covenant, report rents annually to the City, and certify that the ADU was not used as a short-term rental. If the property owner defaults, the equivalent reduced SDC fees, with accrued interest, will be due in full.
The City Council has also introduced additional funding to supplement the ADU SDC Reduction Program. For further details about the program, including how to apply, the city’s Planning, Building & Safety, and Public Works Engineering departments can provide assistance.
Overcoming Size and Design Constraints
Another challenge when building an ADUs in Medford is adhering to specific size and design standards. The Medford Land Development Code (MLDC) defines ADUs as an attached or detached dwelling unit that’s additional to a single-family dwelling and on the same tax lot. Common names for ADUs include in-law suite, accessory apartment, or second unit.
For an ADU’s size, it can be 75% of the primary dwelling’s Gross Habitable Floor Area (GHFA). However, detached ADUs cannot be larger than 900 sq. ft., and attached ADUs converted from existing space in the primary home cannot be larger than 50% of the primary dwelling.
Another key point to note is that off-street parking is not required if the existing home has two off-street parking spaces. Moreover, ADUs can be accessory to detached single-family homes, townhouses, manufactured homes, and duplex dwellings on their own lot. All setbacks and standards required by a lot’s zoning district are required for an ADU, but lot coverage may be increased by 10% for an ADU.
Navigating these zoning requirements can be a complex task. Luckily, the Planning Department is available from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm to assist in determining a lot’s zoning requirements.
Leveraging Permit-Ready ADU Construction Plans
To simplify the process, the city of Medford offers permit-ready plans for use. These plans remove barriers to construction and increase efficiency in development review. A preview of the plans is available on the City website, but the use of these plans requires that participants agree not to use the ADU as short-term housing.
Developing a Financial Plan for Your ADU
As you venture into ADU construction, one of the significant challenges you may face is the financial commitment. Though the city has provided substantial relief through the SDC reduction program, homeowners still need to account for construction costs, additional utility connections, and potential adjustments to property insurance, among other expenses.
Understanding these expenses upfront is key to avoiding unexpected costs down the line. To get an estimate of potential SDC charges, you can contact the City’s Public Works Engineering department. For water-related charges, you can reach out to the Medford Water Commission. Having an in-depth conversation with your construction company about the anticipated budget can also provide a clearer idea of the total cost. By doing so, you can develop a comprehensive financial plan, potentially seek financing options, and ensure the feasibility of your ADU project.
Seeking Professional Assistance
Given the complexity of constructing an ADU, particularly with regards to adhering to city regulations and building codes, seeking professional assistance like Verity Construction can be invaluable. Whether you’re considering building a detached ADU or converting existing space into an attached ADU, construction companies experienced in ADU development can provide expertise and guide you through the process. They can handle everything from drawing up blueprints that meet city standards to navigating the permit process, and of course, constructing your ADU.
Engaging with professional builders like Verity Construction can also bring some peace of mind. With their extensive knowledge of local building codes, restrictions, and best practices, they can avoid common pitfalls and ensure that your ADU is built to last. They can also help optimize your ADU design based on the specific characteristics of your property and personal preferences, thereby enhancing the value that the ADU brings to your home.
The Future of ADU Construction in Medford
With the increasing demand for affordable housing and versatile living spaces, the role of ADUs is set to grow in the future. Homeowners in Medford who take advantage of the city’s incentive program and successfully navigate the ADU construction process stand to benefit greatly.
Not only can an ADU provide additional living space for family members or rental income for homeowners, but it can also increase the overall property value. As such, the current initiative by the Medford city government is an opportunity that homeowners should seriously consider.
The construction of ADUs is a practical solution to housing challenges in Medford, Oregon. Although the process may seem daunting initially, with the right knowledge, planning, and professional assistance, it is entirely manageable. The Verity Construction team will help to understand the landscape of ADU construction in Medford and utilizing the city’s resources, homeowners can make informed decisions and take the necessary steps towards building their own ADU.