Although the city of Canby has had a number of townhome developments built over the years, its development code doesn’t actually allow townhomes. Whoops.
Due to a small oversight, the code prohibits attached residences with more than one shared wall. In other words, nothing bigger than a duplex is permitted in Canby, according to the letter of the law. However, Planning Director Bryan Brown said the prohibition was routinely ignored for years, either because city staff wasn’t aware of it, or because it conflicted with other, overriding standards (like the minimum density requirements of certain zoning designations).
The discrepancy came to light in September, prompting one of the greatest sound bites in the history of the Canby Planning Commission, courtesy Vice Chair Larry Boatright.
It is possible to “change the damn code”; in fact, it would require changing just a couple words in the existing ordinance. But at the most recent planning meeting, Brown admitted he hasn’t yet moved forward with the process, believing the change will be “very controversial.”
Basically, the concern being that the proposal will be challenged by residents who really do want high-density developments like townhomes to be banned in Canby. Brown said there are other, more routine and far less “controversial” changes that are also needed in the code, and he recommended that the planning department starts there.
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