City of Ashland considering “cottage homes”

Ashland, Ore. — Ashland is exploring a new way to help solve the housing shortage.

The city needs to add housing, but doesn’t have a lot of land to do it.

That’s why it’s now looking at changing the rules so small cottages could be built on lots too small for larger homes.

“The city of Ashland is going to be considering allowing cottage housing in single-family residential neighborhoods,” Ashland Senior Planner Brandon Goldman said.

Ashland Senior Planner Brandon Goldman is working on a proposed ordinance that would allow for small housing units clustered around common open space.

This idea of “cottage housing” is meant to offer smaller, more affordable places to live.

“The units are smaller. And they’re on smaller lots they’re typically more affordable than single-family homes on large lots,” Goldman said.

According to Goldman, the ordinance proposal states cottage housing developments can range from three to twelve units and each cottage house would be fewer than 800 square feet.

“Surrounding a common open space with a common building,” Goldman said.

The ordinance would also allow homes to be built just six feet apart with each unit having its own 200 square foot private yard area.

“And that could be a porch, a patio, or a private garden area,” Goldman said.

Goldman says it’s not the ultimate fix for the ashland housing crisis, but it’s a start.

“Cottages that are built for ownership are still targeting a particular demographic that can afford to buy a home,” Goldman said.

He says developers have indicated there certainly is a market in the city for smaller housing units.

“People can buy single-family homes, they can buy town homes, they can rent apartments… but there isn’t anything in between. And so hopefully the cottage housing will fill that gap and provide yet one more option for people to consider,” Goldman said.

The Ashland Planning Commission is holding a public hearing Tuesday night.

The Ashland City Council will hold its own hearing November 7th.

If approved, the planning commission expects the ordinance to go into effect at the beginning of 2018.

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