Portland extends waiver of SDCs on Accessory Dwelling Units

Great News!

This afternoon, Portland’s City Council voted unanimously to extend the waiver of Systems Development Charges on Accessory Dwelling Units for an additional 3 years.  The waiver covers all new ADUs (conversions or new construction) that are permitted before July 31, 2016 and obtain a final inspection and certification of occupancy no later than June 30, 2017.

Critical to this decision was the overwhelming evidence of the waiver’s impact over the past 2+ years.  Before the original waiver was adopted in early 2010, Portland was permitting 2.6 ADUs per month.  That rate jumped to 8.7 ADUs per month in 2011 and is now on track for 12.8 ADUs/month in 2012, a nearly five-fold increase in ADU activity from before the waiver went into effect.  There were undoubtedly other factors involved in this jump, including the available of Energy Trust of Oregon incentives for ADUs, zoning code changes to allow ADUs to be larger in comparison to the primary dwelling (but still capped at 800sf), new appraisal guidelines to make ADUs easier to finance, and a general lifting up of the housing market this year.  But there’s no question that the SDC waiver has been critical in helping many builders and homeowners take the leap from “Maybe…” to “Yes, let’s go for it!” for their ADU schemes & dreams.

We also used the opportunity of some public testimony to nudge the city to consider adopting scalable SDC fees on residential homes – so that 1,000 square foot homes wouldn’t pay the same SDC fees as 5,000 square foot ones (as they do today).  Based on feedback from City Council member Nick Fish, there might be some follow-up on this idea.

All the neighborhood, design community, builder, resident, and public agency support for accessory dwellings made this an enthusiastic and non-contentious “Yes” vote by Council.  Here’s a big “Thank You” to everyone who’s been supportive of rule changes, like this one, that make it easier to build smaller homes.  And a special “Thank you” to the City of Portland for taking the lead on this issue.  Let’s keep the changes coming – locally and in other jurisdictions around the region.

– Eli Spevak

PS – For other city councils… during the ~3 hours in council chambers waiting for this resolution to come up, this bill stood out as their most fun vote amidst a lot of pretty dry, bureaucratic stuff to wade through. So lighten up your next meeting with an ordinance to support tiny homes!

Construction Update 10/1/12

I scurried up a neighbor’s tree for this overhead photo.  The last multi-unit building had trusses delivered today, so soon all the 3-BR homes will be roofed. Unit 14 is decked and the footing for Unit 15 was poured this morning, so the single family homes are coming in close behind. Electricians are rolling through Units 9-13 while plumbers and HVAC folks work on Units 1-8.  Next subs to add to the mix: insulation, drywall, gutters and siders.  Keep sunny/dry weather in the forecast.  We love it!

Build It Green Home Tour

Guess what?  Cully Grove will be featured as part of this year’s Build It Green! home tour on Saturday, Sept. 22nd.  Check out a recent Oregonian article for information about Cully Grove and tour details.

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Construction Update 8/16/12

It’s hot out there!  Framing is nearly complete on the first two buildings.  The first front porches are up and looking great.  Roofs are stocked, rough-in plumbing is underway, and windows are arriving late next week.

Across the rest of the site, we’re juggling dirt piles, big holes, and foundation forms as the basement buildings prepare to come out of the ground.  We brought 27 truckloads of soil to the future community garden site at Thomas Cully Park.  Basement slab pours for buildings A and B are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday of next week, after which framing crews will jump over to start building those homes.  The first single family home dig-out is done and the concrete crew will start forming up that foundation next week.

The chickens and Oreo the rabbit continue to patrol the site, apparently having a grand old time.  Still not sure where the chickens are laying all their eggs, but we hope to figure it out by sight rather than by smell.  Let the egg hunt continue…

Construction update 7/17/12

The site’s getting exciting!  Framing has started on bldgs D and E, basements are dug out for bldgs A and B, and foundations are on their way. Lumber has arrived to frame the 1st 4 buildings. We’ve stockpiled lots of soil and hope to bring much of it to the future Thomas Cully Park up the street, which needs clean fill.

We continue to lock in large orders, get subs under contract, and sort through innumerable construction details. Over the next few weeks, the lead buildings will rise up to the roof and the homes with basements will start coming up out of the ground.

More soon!  – Eli

House Move tomorrow morning!

It took some last minute work with the city’s permit office, but we’re all set to go for a ~8:30am house move tomorrow (Wed.) morning.  Stop by if you’d like to see Zach and Jessica’s house roll Very Slowly around the corner to its new home.

Cully Grove Groundbreaking!

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Cully Grove broke ground on Sunday, May 13th amidst the excitement of the first Sunday Parkways of the summer. A homemade doughnut stand was a great way to greet the 20,000+ cyclists who passed by Cully Grove that afternoon. Sugar doughnuts, chocolate doughnuts, gluten free doughnuts, and Eli’s beignets got everyone grinning.

As the crowds began to dwindle the community switched gears from the public party to a private one. The groundbreaking ceremony itself was very pleasant with most of the future Cully Grove residents present. The festivities included writing letters and placing them in a time capsule, digging up little jars of dirt so that the families can have a little bit of Cully Grove with them at home while their future homes are being constructed, and, of course, champagne toasts.

Cully Grove Groundbreaking

Groundbreaking Date Set

Please join us Sunday, May 13 during Northeast Portland’s Sunday Parkways. We’re on the route at 4745 NE Going. From 12-2 p.m. we’ll be frying fresh, homemade doughnuts for passers-by.  Groundbreaking festivities, including live music, will take place at 2 p.m.

The Yellow house is parked on Going St. ready to move to its new home on 47th Ave.


Daily Journal of Commerce story

Today’s Daily Journal of Commerce has a nice cover story about new community-oriented projects, including Waverly Commons and Cully Grove.  Check it out!

Also, there’s a story about Cully Grove coming out in the February Hollywood Star News.  Look for it on newstands soon.

Friends of Cully Grove Holiday Party

Please join us Saturday, December 10 anytime from 4 to 7pm.
It’s time to celebrate the many people coming together to make Cully Grove possible.

Neighborhood advocates, future and prospective residents, architects and financial supporters are all part of the Cully Grove extended family – and we’d like to provide a chance for you to meet one another.
Stop by our new home, directly across from the site at 4736 NE Going St. Site walks will be available between 4-5pm. We’ll provide food & drink. Feel free to invite friends curious about living at Cully Grove.

Our best to you and your family this holiday season,
Eli, Noelle & Ozora Spevak
503.358.2055

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