by Randy Ward
Sabin Land Use and Transportation Committee
The Portland City Council adopted the "Portland Plan" in 2012, which was developed to guide the city’s forward progress toward several challenges. One priority is to create a "healthy, connected city," in the form of higher density, service-accessible communities.
Creating higher density in a city the size of Portland presents challenges that need creative solutions. The Portland Zoning Code permits the creation of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in all residential zones of the city. ADUs can be created in a variety of ways, including conversion of a portion of an existing house, addition to an existing house, conversion of a garage or the construction of an entirely new building. In essence, an additional living space is created on an already developed lot.
The maximum size of an ADU may be no more than 75% of the living area of the house or 800 square feet, whichever is less. Additionally, for detached ADU's: maximum height is 18 feet; building coverage may not be larger than the building coverage of the house; and set back must be 60 feet from a front lot line or 6
feet behind the house.
Some of the benefits provided by an ADU include possible rental income, accommodating growing families (think teen quarters), generational living (elderly parents or in-laws), or even downsizing for simpler living, while renting out your main house.
The City has approved a 3-year extension for the System Development Charge (SDC) waiver for ADUs (conversions or new construction), previously set to expire in 2012. This waiver could save homeowners up to thousands of dollars in fees, making ADU construction even more appealing.
The Northeast Portland Tool Library will be selling excess inventory on Saturday, August 4 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. The Tool Library is located at 5431 NE 20th Ave, in the basement.
NEPTL, a project of the Redeemer Lutheran Church, works towards a future where Portland is vibrant, sustainable, and a thriving city for people of all income levels by providing homeowners, renters and business owners of northeast Portland with tools and the knowledge to use them.
Lending hours are Saturdays 9:00 am to 2:00 pm and Wednesdays 5:30 pm-7:30 pm all year.
For more info visit http://www.neptl.org/
by Gene Lee
Have you been thinking about putting solar on your home, but were not sure if solar was right for you? Sign up today, and receive a free solar site assessment. Northeast Coalition of Neighbors has partnered with Mr. Sun Solar, Umpqua Bank and Neil Kelly to offer area homeowners an easy and affordable pathway to solar as well as opportunities to improve their homes’ comfort with energy efficiency improvements. Tax credits and cash incentives, along with a variety of financing and ownership options, provide homeowners with an affordable pathway to energy independence. Attend our final free workshop on Saturday, May 12th and learn how solar energy can work on your home. The workshop will cover the basics of going solar, explain tax credits and cash incentives, and review financing and lease options.
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The Green Building Hotline provides practical tips and useful information about green home strategies, including resources and incentives for new and existing commercial and residential projects in the region. The Hotline answers questions about ways to reduce your carbon footprint, renewable energy, indoor air quality, salvage, doing more with less, training workshops and more.
The service is available to homeowners, renters, real estate professionals, non-profits, contractors, students, developers, business owners and design professionals in the tri-county area. It's offered by Metro, the City of Portland, Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas Counties.
Regional Green Building Hotline 503.823.5431 www.buildgreen411.com
by Dave Moser
Utility costs can make up a big chunk of a household’s budget. In our home, we pay about $800 per year on natural gas for heat. That’s a lot!
To help cut down on those costs, the Energy Trust offers free energy assessments of your home. They’ll identify low-cost ways to reduce your heating bill, like sealing air gaps around windows and doors, and tell you about cost-effective upgrades. They offer these audits online, by phone, or in-person. I did the online assessment and found it easy to use, but I have doubts about its accuracy - it said I could save about as much energy as I already use!
I’d recommend an in-person audit. Contact the Energy Trust at 866-368- 7878 or visit them at energytrust.org to learn more and schedule an energy audit. Some friends of ours here in Sabin have a success story to share about cutting down on heating costs. When they moved in to their home a few years ago, they were paying as much as $250 per month in natural gas bills to heat their home. After they patched some leaky ductwork, a very simple and low-cost fix, their winter time bills dropped to $150 per month! Then, after insulating their walls and upgrading their furnace the next year, their bills dropped even further, to $100 per month. They did this with the assistance of the Energy Trust.
Another way to learn about home energy efficiency is to partner with Energy Conservation Training Company. Available only to NE Portland residents, they team up with homeowners who agree to occasionally have students and an instructor perform energy audit procedures on the home. In addition to learning about ways to improve the energy performance of their home, homeowners are paid $100 for each 4-hour session. To find out more, contact Linda Kimbrough at 503.206.7470 or email@example.com.
Solarize Northeast provides a pathway to simple and affordable solar installation. In 2009, Solarize helped 200 northeast Portland residents install solar panels on their homes. This year, they aim to match that number. The project is organized by the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods, whose mission is to improve the livability of North and Northeast Portland.
Using a competitive bidding process, the team selected Mr. Sun Solar, a northeast Portland business with a strong commitment to customer service, as the contractor. Starting in January, the team will offer educational workshops where residents can learn about converting to solar, tax credits and other financial incentives, and financing options. Experts will be available to answer questions. The workshops are free.
The deadline to participate in Solarize Northeast is May 15, 2012. Contracts signed before February 29, 2012 will receive an Early Bird Special.
Check out Solarize Northeast's Facebook page
for more information. Or, call Gene Lee at 503-823-4113.