Canby Eyeing Updates to Outdated Townhomes Ordinance

Pine Place, a proposed six-unit subdivision on South Pine Street, came before the Canby Planning Commission Monday night. The development had been proposed by local contractor Ed Netter Construction on a 0.4 acre lot that is zoned high-density residential (R-2).

One of the concerns brought forth by Canby resident Regina Taylor was a local ordinance that prohibits the construction of attached residences with more than one shared wall. If observed, this ordinance would essentially prohibit any townhomes in Canby (except for duplexes), but as Planning Director Bryan Brown explained, it has been routinely ignored by the city for years.

He said townhome developments are commonly built with more than two attached units, both in Canby and elsewhere. In fact, such configurations are often necessary to satisfy the minimum density of 14 units per acre, which is required under R-2 standards. 

Here’s Planning Director Bryan Brown:

The same conflict exists for the Canby Townhomes, a proposed development of 38 townhouse units on 13th and Ivy, which is how the issue first came to Brown’s attention. The Pine Place subdivision was eventually approved by the Planning Commission, with one vote in opposition that came from Vice Chair Larry Boatright. He said he liked the developer’s design, but he would vote against it because of the ordinance that’s in place.

He had some strong words for what he thinks should be done with the ordinance, as well as some of the city’s other outdated directives.

“I think you need to change the damn code,” he said. “We’ve been talking about this; we’ve had a lot of problems with some of this code. We’ve talked about how many years old it is. Well, here’s an example right here, of where our code’s not keeping up with what the City Council and the Planning Department thinks is right. I say, change it.”

Brown said that removing the townhome prohibition would be as simple as changing two words in the existing ordinance, but the amendment has to be approved through the state Department of Land Conservation and Development, a process that takes about four months.


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