We’ve had rain, mud, frozen ground… and for today: a little bit of snow. Yet construction is zipping forward as we roll into 2013. After trenching up the site for electrical underground service, we now have power extending to each home. Almost half the units are sheetrocked and another 6 are on deck for insulation and sheetrock in the next couple weeks. Next week, we’ll pour gypcrete over in-floor radiant tubing in the first batch of units, get most of the tile backer board and shower pans prepped, begin interior paint, and see the arrival of the first cabinets. Outside, siding of the multi-unit buildings is nearly complete, carport foundations are nearly done, and the common building comes next. Also in the next couple weeks, we’ll start digging the well! More soon… – Eli
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!
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!
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.
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…
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