Middle Housing

Middle housing options are intended to increase housing diversity, supply, affordability, and choice for Cities’ diverse populations.

Oregon House Bill 2001, passed by the Oregon State Legislature in 2019, mandated specific changes for large cities such as Salem. In March 2022, Salem adopted code changes affecting residential zones allowing single family detached dwellings (RA, RS, & RM-I).

What is Middle Housing?

Middle housing configurations include:

  • Townhouses
    • A dwelling unit constructed in a row of two or more attached units
    • Located on its own lot
  • Two-family use
    • Two units on a lot (attached or detached)
    • Includes duplex
  • Three-family use
    • Three units on a lot (attached or detached)
    • Includes triplex
  • Four-family use
    • Four units on a lot (attached or detached)
    • Includes quadplex
  • Cottage Cluster (type of multi-family use)
    • Grouping of 5 to 12 detached dwelling units on a lot
    • Max. 900 sq. ft. footprint
    • Arranged around a common courtyard

What about Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)?

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are not middle housing.

Characteristics of ADUs include:

  • Max. 1 ADU allowed per lot.
  • Only accessory to detached single family dwellings.
  • Not allowed as accessory to middle housing.
  • Must be smaller than the main house:
    • Max. 900 ft.2 or 75% of main building gross area, whichever is less.
  • May be attached to or detached from the main house.
  • Must meet additional special use requirements of SRC 700.007.

Application and Review Process

Middle housing applications and review depend on the middle housing configuration you have selected.

If you are building vertically with one unit stacked above another such as in a standard triplex or quadplex, you will use the Commercial Application process. Your review will follow the multifamily building code for the structure but will not require a site plan review land use application.

All other middle housing configurations will use the Residential Building Code and application process if you have a two-hour fire separation wall or six feet of space between the structures.

Each structure will require its own building permit.

If you are building a cottage cluster, you must submit a plan for the entire cluster with the first building permit.

Address Assignment for New Middle Housing Homes

Where spacing allows, unique and separate addresses will be assigned to new homes that are constructed on the same or partitioned lots, under the middle housing allowance.

Where address spacing is confined and room for additional unique addresses is not available, new homes constructed under the middle housing allowance will instead be assigned as “unit”.


  • New Primary or Existing Residence: 1234 Salem St SE
  • Middle Housing Address:1234 Salem St SE – Unit A,B,C etc.

If the land is partitioned at a later point, creating separate lots for the homes that have been assigned as “unit”, the address will carry forward with the home on its new lot.

Multifamily Addressing

Typically, apartment units located within a building's interior will be assigned as “APT” (apartment) in multi-family buildings.

In the event a multi-family building must be assigned as a “unit” itself, the lowest address on the building or first in sequence of “units” will be considered the primary address. Additional or subsequent addresses within the building will also be assigned as “unit” instead of “APT”.


  • New Multi-Family Building:1234 Salem St SE – Unit A (primary)
  • Additional/Subsequent Apartments:
    • 1234 Salem St SE – Unit B
    • 1234 Salem St SE – Unit C etc.

Multifamily Licensing

Middle housing developments of three or more dwelling units on one lot or any group of three or more dwelling units on contiguous lots under the same ownership that are offered for rent or lease require multifamily housing licensing under the City’s Housing Code (SRC Chapter 59).

Additional Things to Consider

Waterway Setback

New waterway setback required specifically with HB2001 include:

  • Required Setback:  100 ft. (measured from top of bank on each side of waterway) 
  • Applies only to middle housing
    • New middle housing constructed after March 16, 2022.
    • Existing buildings constructed prior to March 16, 2022, located within the setback may be rebuilt in the same location within the same building footprint.
  • Riparian corridor (50-foot & 75-foot from top of bank) tree & vegetation preservation requirements of SRC 808 (Preservation of Trees & Vegetation) still apply.

Historic and Archaeological Resources

Throughout the local land use review process authorizing the development of middle housing in historic districts or within historically designated resources or sites, the City continues to ensure that Salem’s local Goal 5 resources are protected through implementation of Salem Revised Code 230 Historic Preservation.

Visit our Historic Review Rules page for more information about Salem’s Historic Preservation Program, including additional resources and information about Salem’s program for protecting and preserving Salem’s historic and archaeological resources. For more information about Middle Housing and Goal 5 Historic Resources, please refer to the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development guide on Middle Housing and Goal 5 Historic Resources.