From: Melanie Mindlin (
Date: Wed, 9 Jun 2021 14:37:00 -0700 (PDT)
Hi Sharon,
This should be in the Ashland Land Use Ordinance: 
It looks like there are some things at our local newspaper, Ashland Tidings: 
Or call the Ashland Planning Department and ask.  Folks there are pretty nice. 
Phone: (541) 488-5305

I was a member of the Planning Commission at the time.  Affordable housing is a 
constant topic of discussion in our town, so suggesting this solution was met 
with curiosity at the start.  New ordinances can be proposed by the Planning 
Commission, the Planning Department staff or the the City Council.  While I was 
chair of the commission, I suggested this privately to the head of the planning 
department, and he brought it to the commission for discussion.  It was a long 
process starting with the planning staff doing research, meetings with the 
commission to get our views on various issues, meetings with  stakeholders in 
the development and real estate industries, interim support from the City 
Council for the Planning Department to continue pursuing it on staff time, and 
so on.

Our Planning staff really likes to have examples from other jurisdictions as a 
starting point for anything new.  We found some previous ordinance language 
coming out of Washington, where Russ Chapin is based.  This gave encouragement 
that we were not complete loners out on a limb.  Other jurisdictions may have 
adopted similar ordinances by now.  This is especially likely in Oregon since 
it was on a list of recommendations from the State, and local jurisdictions are 
“required” to do something to address the housing crisis.

What makes this use option special is that it can be done in the single family 
zones.  There’s no need for it in multi-family zones.  Our town has very little 
land zoned for multi-family housing, and changing the zoning is almost 
impossible; whereas changing the permitted uses within the zones was much less 
controversial.  Once the general idea was embraced, staff wanted to push the 
numbers to get as much housing as possible.  After meeting with the 
stakeholders, they reduced the minimum number from 4 to 3.  This means that 
it’s just the next step from having an ADU.  Generally, it requires about 2500 
square feet per unit.  We also reduced the parking requirement to only one 
space per unit. A standard lot in our town has 5,000 square feet.

Once they were into the project, I found my role was to encourage them to allow 
larger homes with less design restrictions.  At the beginning, they wanted to 
have design standards that would force them to look “cute.”  We got rid of 
those in the process.  I also pressed for additional personal yard space for 
each unit (as I think this is a quality of living issue and forces them to be a 
bit less dense), looser restrictions on the access to the open space (which 
allows for more flexible design), and allowance for common facilities up to 
1500 square feet.  They were keen to keep parking clumped together and not have 
garages attached to the homes.  I would have been happier if they had allowed 
the house sizes to go larger, as that would allow more flexibility if someone 
could actually figure out how to meet all the requirements for open space, 
private space and parking.

I think our Planning Department is pretty proud of their work, and there is at 
least one project being built that used their design examples almost exactly as 
drawn.  So give them a call to talk about it.


> On Jun 8, 2021, at 12:16 PM, cohousing-l-request [at] wrote:
> Message: 6
> Date: Tue, 8 Jun 2021 15:16:09 -0400
> From: Sharon Villines <sharon [at] <mailto:sharon [at] 
> To: Cohousing-L <cohousing-l [at] <mailto:cohousing-l [at] 
> Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Cottages: Excitement this weekend about the
>       possibilities of low cost cohousing
> Message-ID: <8F402F95-CEC0-4B41-85B2-CA9E3C47FBE1 [at] 
> <mailto:8F402F95-CEC0-4B41-85B2-CA9E3C47FBE1 [at]>>
> Content-Type: text/plain;     charset=utf-8
> This is wonderful. How would I find the code online ? what is it filed under 
> or named?
> Can you explain the process you used to pass the ordinance? Oregon is 
> particularly liberal about everything ? but what do you think were the most 
> convincing arguments for them? 
> ADUs are popping up all over so I think that will increase acceptance of 
> small homes.
> Do you have addresses for these communities? I can look at them on Google 
> Earth.
> Sharon
>> On Jun 7, 2021, at 11:34 AM, Melanie Mindlin <sassetta [at] 
>> <mailto:sassetta [at]>> wrote:
>> There is a book that came out in 2011 called ?Pocket Neighborhoods? by Ross 
>> Chapin.  This helped me pioneer a Cottage Housing ordinance in my small city 
>> of Ashland, Oregon during my time on the Planning Commission.  We passed our 
>> ordinance about 4 years ago.  A couple of years later, the State of Oregon 
>> came out with recommendations for addressing sky-rocketing housing costs, 
>> which included cottage housing.
>> Since passing the ordinance, our town has built a couple of cottage housing 
>> developments of 15 homes (this is a top limit in our ordinance).  Several 
>> small developments of 3-5 homes have also been built.  The minimum number is 
>> three, and one of these can be an original home of any size.  The ordinance 
>> basically allows you to double the number of units allowed on your lot, as 
>> long as they are no bigger than 1,000 square feet and average no more than 
>> 800 square feet. There are also requirements for parking in clusters and 
>> common open space.  Garages are not encouraged?they count towards your total 
>> square footage.  Common buildings are allowed up to 1,500 square feet.  I 
>> tried to get it to look as much like a cohousing community as possible 
>> within the expectations of our Planning Department.
>> You still have to build to Code like everyone else.
>> Melanie Mindlin
>> Ashland Cohousing
>> _________________________________________________________________
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