Accessory Dwelling Unit Rules Under Review

The City is considering allowing accessory dwelling units (ADUs), commonly known as mother-in-law apartments, in Salem. An ADU is a second dwelling unit that is attached to or detached from a main house on a lot. It is smaller than the main house.

This project includes exploring how to integrate ADUs into the community so that they are compatible with existing neighborhoods.

Planning Commission Hearing & Recommendation

​The Planning Commission held a public hearing on April 18, 2017 to consider the proposed amendments. The Planning Commission voted to recommend that the City Council approve the amendments with the following two revisions:

  1. Remove the requirement for one off-street parking space per ADU
  2. Increase the maximum height for detached ADUs from 20 feet to 25 feet
Planning Commission Public Hearing

The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on April 18 on a proposal to allow ADUs in Salem. The Planning Commission meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. and will be in City Council Chambers. At the public hearing, staff will present a recommendation to the Planning Commission on a proposed code amendment that will include standards for regulating ADUs. The Planning Commission will make a recommendation to the City Council, which will make the final decision on the proposal. 

Neighborhood Associations Outreach
​In January and February 2017, neighborhood associations provided City staff with input on how ADUs should be regulated in Salem. The input will inform staff’s recommendation for allowing these housing units in the city.
Winter 2016 Open House

More than 50 people participated in an open house on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at the Salem Public Library. Participants provided input on a variety of standards for ADUs such as maximum size, maximum height, and parking requirements. You can read about their feedback in this open house summary.

Advisory Committee Meetings
​The Housing Choices Advisory Committee met twice in late 2016 to discuss questions, concerns, and ideas for regulating ADUs in Salem. The committee’s meetings were open to the public. You can read summaries of the meetings in the “Project Documents” section below.
Jun. 12
City Council Meeting6:00 p.m.10:00 p.m.Council Chambers
555 Liberty ST SE RM 240
Salem OR 97301
Jun. 26
City Council Meeting6:00 p.m.10:00 p.m.Council Chambers
555 Liberty ST SE RM 240
Salem OR 97301
4/18/2017Accessory Dwelling Units Staff Recommendation171 KB
4/18/2017Planning Commission recommendation on Accessory Dwelling Units168 KB
4/18/2017Planning Commission recommendation to council (CA17-03)256 KB
3/20/2017Ordinance Code Amendment Case CA17-03 - Draft1574 KB
11/29/2016Accessory dwelling units open house summary315 KB
11/3/2016Housing Choices Advisory Committee meeting presentation6095 KB
11/3/2016Housing Choices Advisory Committee meeting summary234 KB
10/5/2016Housing Choices Advisory Committee meeting presentation3655 KB
10/5/2016Housing Choices Advisory Cmmittee meeting summary238 KB
2/8/2016Accessory dwelling units housing needs analysis work plan8455 KB
12/1/2014ECONorthwest economic opportunities analysis 2015-20355006 KB
12/1/2014Salem employment implementation strategy for council597 KB
12/1/2014Salem residential implementation strategy for council859 KB
Accessory dwelling units handout1217 KB
ECONorthwest housing needs analysis 2015-20356688 KB
ECONorthwest housing needs analysis and economic opportunities analysis 2015-2035 summary1959 KB
Housing Choices Advisory Committee Members7 KB

​Project images


The City started working on this ADU project in 2016 as a first step of a multi-year project to address Salem’s projected deficit of land for multifamily housing. The projected 207-acre deficit was identified in the Salem Housing Needs Analysis.

That analysis examined if there was enough land in Salem’s portion of the urban growth boundary to meet housing needs over the next 20 years.

Get involved

Sign up for the Accessory Dwelling Unit email list to get updates about the project, including invitations to future meetings.

Contact us

Eunice KimProject Manager
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
555 Liberty ST SE RM 305
Salem OR 97301
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