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Tutorials & Guides

Updates to e-Permitting in Accela Citizen Access

Here are the services offered though our e-Permitting site:

Building Permit Applications

You are now able to apply for all building permits, provide construction documents, and pay for review fees in a single transaction.

Public Works Applications

We are also excited you can now apply for Encroachment and Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control applications.

ePlans (Electronic Plan Review)

Electronic plan review is integrated into this system allowing you to create an application, submit your plans, and monitor application status without waiting for an invitation or using a separate system.

Updated Record Statuses

Better track your projects through the process with clearer record statuses: know when an application may have been deemed incomplete, when a plan review letter is available, when fees are due, and when the permit is issued. A full list and definitions of existing and new statuses is available in our guides and tutorials above.

On January 14, 2022, amendments to the Albany Development Code went into effect that allow middle housing types in areas zoned for residential uses where detached single-unit housing are currently permitted. The objectives of allowing middle housing types in more areas in the city are to:

  • Improve housing choices in the short term, and housing affordability in the long term, for Albany residents.
  • Help Albany comply with House Bill 2001, a 2019 state law requiring cities to increase the variety of housing options in residential areas by permitting “middle housing.”

What is Middle Housing?

In Albany, middle housing refers to duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, townhouses, and cottage clusters. Middle housing types are typically built at a similar scale as single-unit detached houses and were common in neighborhoods prior to World War II. However, Albany and many other cities prohibited or significantly limited middle housing in single-family neighborhoods through zoning regulations that categorized them as “multi-family housing.”

What are Albany’s regulations and process for building Middle Housing?

The following handouts explain most of Albany’s middle housing types in more detail and provide the applicable Albany Development Code Standards for each housing type, including minimum lot sizes by zoning district.

ex duplex

Duplexes 

A single detached building containing two primary dwellings. (Buildings with a primary dwelling and an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), would follow the ADU standards in ADC Section 3.080(4).) Duplexes are permitted on any lot or parcel where detached single unit dwellings are allowed and must meet the same design and development standards as detached single unit dwellings. 

Handout coming soon

ex fourplex

Triplexes and Fourplexes

Include a single building containing three (triplex) or four (fourplex) dwellings on a single lot or parcel.

Handout

ex townhome

Townhouses

Are two or attached dwelling units where each unit is on its own lot or parcel and served by separate utilities.

Handout

ex cottagecluster

Cottage Clusters

A grouping of up to eight detached cottages with a footprint of less than 900 square feet each that includes a common courtyard.

Handout

PLEASE NOTE: Additional standards may be applicable to your specific project. If you have questions about your specific project, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 541-917-7550.

Middle Housing types are permitted with a building permit. Applicants will submit the applicable middle housing checklist (coming soon) with their building permit to ensure compliance with all applicable development standards.

Are ADUs (accessory dwelling units) considered Middle Housing?

No. One accessory dwelling unit is permitted on each lot that contains one legally established single detached dwelling unit. ADUs are subject to the development standards in ADC Article 3, Section 3.080 (4).

Why do cities need more Middle Housing types?

Housing needs vary. Many residents are paying more than they can afford for housing and are limited to renting or buying detached homes they can’t afford. Small families, young adults, and the growing population of elderly need housing options that offer a smaller footprint, lower maintenance, and easier access to public transportation, services, and social opportunities. Enabling middle housing and a greater variety of housing options will expand opportunities for where people can choose to live, and what type of homes they live in.

Deed restrictions such as Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CCRs) are commonly known today for laying out rules for homeowner's associations. However, people who own older residential property may also find racial restrictive covenants in their property deed and CCRs.

While racial restrictive covenants are not enforceable, the presence of the language has made its way to the Oregon State Legislature. In 2018, the Legislature passed two laws — ORS 93.270 and ORS 93.274 — that are intended to make it easier for property owners to remove racist provisions from the title of their property through state circuit courts.

How do I learn if racial restrictive covenants appear in my property's deed and CCRs?

The documents you signed when you purchased your home will include the deed and CCRs. A close review of these documents will reveal whether racial restrictive covenants were applied to your property. Note that the restrictions are often embedded and may be limited to a single sentence or short paragraph.

discriminatory provision

If you are not able to locate the documents, you can obtain a copy of the deed from your county or by contacting a title company. A fee may apply.

Linn County Assessor
541-967-3808
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Benton County Records & Election Department
Check online
541-766-6831
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What is the process to remove discriminatory restrictions?

The laws passed in 2018 aim to ease the removal of discriminatory restrictions from property records, using a procedure detailed in ORS 93.274. Please note this is not a City process. All inquiries should be directed to your county’s circuit court.

Form:

Petition to Remove Discriminatory Provisions from Title to Real Property

Contact:

Linn County Circuit Court
https://www.courts.oregon.gov/courts/linn/Pages/default.aspx
541-967-3845
300 4th Avenue SW, Albany, OR 97321

Benton County Circuit Court
https://www.courts.oregon.gov/courts/benton/Pages/default.aspx
541-243-7850
120 NW 4th Street, Corvallis, OR, 97330

History of Racial Restrictive Covenants

The Civic Unity Committee, in a 1946 publication, defined racial restrictive covenants as: “agreements entered into by a group of property owners, sub-division developers, or real estate operators in a given neighborhood, binding them not to sell, lease, rent or otherwise convey their property to specified groups because of race, creed or color for a definite period unless all agree to the transaction.”

Racial restrictive covenants began in the mid-19th century and were recorded when a lot was created, when a subdivision was approved, or when a home was built. Later, during the Great Depression, the National Housing Act of 1934 was passed with the intention of keeping banks from exceeding their loan reserves. Banks responded with the practice of redlining. Redlining identified areas on city maps where bank investments and sales of mortgages were preferred and redlined areas where lenders were discouraged from financing properties. This practice ultimately provided financial incentives to include racial restrictive covenants while also refusing financing to people of color in the only neighborhoods where they were allowed to purchase. This type of systemic racism became widespread across America, prohibiting the building of wealth through homeownership and deepening segregation based on race, color, and creed.

The U.S. Supreme Court found racial restrictive covenants to be legally unenforceable in 1948 based on the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The ruling established that courts would not enforce the covenants but did not prohibit the inclusion of racial restrictions in covenants or prevent private enforcement. It was not until the passage of the Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 that the racial restrictive covenants became illegal. This means that those who own residential property built before 1968 could very likely find language in their own CCRs that reflects our history of exclusion in housing.

Over 50 years have passed since racial covenants became illegal, but the nation continues to see significantly different rates of homeownership for various racial groups. Fair Housing compliance checks across the country also continue to identify real estate transactions where racial bias limits access for renters and homeowners. In 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau reports the following homeownership rates among Americans:

  • White, 76%
  • Asian, native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders, 61.4%
  • Hispanic, 51.4%
  • Black, 47%

What is Fair Housing?

Fair Housing refers to a set of federal, state, and local laws that prohibit housing discrimination based on a person's race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, source of income, familial status (children in the household under age 18, anticipated presence of children through adoption, pregnancy etc.), marital status, or physical or mental disability. These laws apply to all aspects of housing including renting, selling or buying housing, mortgage loans, adjustments to housing to become more physically accessible, and evictions. With few exceptions, these laws extend to all types of housing including individual homes, duplexes or triplexes, multifamily housing (apartments, condos, or townhomes), retirement housing, long term care facilities, and shelters.

Protected Classes

usa shape
Federal

  • race
  • color
  • national origin
  • religion
  • gender
  • familial status
  • disability

oregon shape
Oregon

  • marital status
  • source of income
  • sexual orientation
  • including gender identity
  • domestic violence victims

History of Housing Discrimination

People who own older residential property in Albany may find racial restrictive covenants in their property deed and CCRs. Learn more about discriminatory covenants and how to get them removed from property records.

Examples of Discrimination

The following list provides examples of housing discrimination but should be not considered a comprehensive list of the ways housing discrimination occurs. View this brochure (English/Spanish) for pictorial examples.

  • Refusing to rent or sell to someone because they are member of a protected class
  • Charging a higher rent or interest rate on a mortgage loan to someone because they are a member of a protected class
  • Refusing to allow a person with a disability to make their housing more physically accessible
  • Having different requirements or terms in a rental agreement or application because they are a member of a protected class
  • Only offering or showing someone housing in a certain neighborhood or area because they are a member of a protected class
  • Taking longer to perform maintenance or repairs on someone’s housing because they are a member of a protected class
  • Falsely denying the availability of housing to someone who is a member of a protected class
  • Actions that may not be overtly discriminatory but disproportionately affect people in a protected class (and have disparate impact)
  • Denying to a residential land use application, permit or funding request because residents may be of a protected class

What does City of Albany do?

Albany works to further fair housing within the City by offering trainings and resources. Albany's Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice and Fair Housing Plan outlines the City's findings regarding fair housing issues identified within the city and steps that will be taken to reduce or remove impediments to fair housing.

Resources for residents

What can I do if I think I'm facing housing discrimination?

If you think you have faced discrimination, or if you would like more information about your rights, please visit the Fair Housing Council of Oregon (FHCO) website or call the hotline, 1-800-5424-3247, ext 2.

Brochures in numerous languages are available for download and staff can respond to questions and complaints having to do with housing discrimination related to federal, state and local laws. 1-800-424-3247. Las publicaciones están disponibles en español y tienen personal que habla español a través del teléfono.

You have one year to file a complaint with the government, and two years to file a lawsuit in federal or state court.

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