If you are looking for long-term rental income or want to house family and friends, you can create an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on property you own. ADUs are an additional, smaller dwelling on the same property as your single-family home.
ADUs cannot be used for
short-term rentals. Unlike a guest house, an
ADU must be an independent dwelling unit having both a kitchen and a bath. Tenants can live in an
ADU permanently. Tenants who are renting must be renting for at least 30 days.
- A “mother-in-law” cottage
- A basement apartment
- An apartment over the garage
Where you can create an ADU
Accessory dwelling units are allowed as a special use in the following zones:
- Residential Agriculture (RA)
- Single-family Residential (RS)
- Duplex Residential (RD)
- Multiple Family Residential 1 (RM1)
- Multiple Family Residential 2 (RM2)
- Multiple Family High-Rise Residential (RH)
- Commercial Office (CO)
- Retail Commercial (CR)
- General Commercial (CG)
- Central Business District (CB)
- Industrial Commercial (IC)
- Industrial Park (IP)
- General Industrial (IG)
- Neighborhood Center Mixed-Use (NCMU)
- Mixed Use-I (MU-I)
- Mixed Use-II (MU-II)
Characteristics of an
Some of the defining traits of an accessory dwelling unit include:
- Only one
ADU per lot
- No off-street parking spaces are required for
- Square footage is limited to 900 square feet or 75% of the main house, whichever is less
- Height is limited to 25 feet tall for detached
ADU must include both a bathroom and a kitchen
- Does not have a direct interior connection to the main house
You can review all the specifications in
Salem Revised Code 700.007.
Process for getting ADU approval
ADU is considered a special use, so no land use application process is required as long as you can meet the special use standards. You do need a building permit. Off-street parking spaces are not required for
System Development Charges (SDCs)
The SDCs for an ADU is based on current rules:
- Parks: (same as a multifamily unit): $3,016.68
- Transportation: (same as a multifamily unit): $1,371.96
- Stormwater: Does not apply
- Water and Sewer: Does not apply unless water meter size is changed. You will be required to complete a water meter sizing worksheet when you apply for your building permits.
Starting July 1, 2019, the SDCs for ADUs will be waived for five years. The waiver will continue until June 30, 2024.
The waiver is the result of a City Council vote on Feb. 25 to update the methodologies used to determine SDCs for parks, transportation, water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure.
Additional information about creating and working with
The City started to consider allowing accessory dwelling units in Salem 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.