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New Zoning Concepts for Mixed Use Areas Available for Review

Draft zoning concepts focus on new development standards, floor area ratios, design overlays, affordable housing and commercial space bonuses, and enhanced notification requirements

Over the next 20 years, Portland is expected to grow by 123,000 additional households and 142,000 new jobs. Most of this growth will occur in neighborhood hubs and main streets like Hollywood, St Johns, SE Division and NW 23rd, which are home to a mix apartment buildings, ground-floor retail and single family homes. These mixed use centers and corridors will serve as the anchors of convenient, walkable neighborhoods. 

But new development is not always welcomed by the community. In response, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability launched the Mixed Use Zones Project to address Portlanders’ concerns about the height, size, scale and design of new development in mixed use zones.

The Mixed Use Zones Project (MUZ) proposes key changes to the City’s commercial and employment zones to make mixed use areas more attractive and responsive to residents and businesses, while still accommodating expected growth. The largest overhaul of Portland’s zoning code in 15 years, this project proposal includes:

  • A simpler array of zones. Reduces the number of commercial or employment zones from nine to four to accommodate small scale (2-3 story), medium scale (4-5 story) and large scale (5+ story) development. 
  • New standards to address building bulk. Controls building mass through new floor area ratios (FAR) that include all uses, including residential development (FAR is the proportion of building area to lot size). Current commercial zones do not have floor area limits for residential development.
  • Compatibility and transitions. Includes new development and design standards to reduce the apparent mass of new buildings, provide better transitions to adjacent buildings, and improve the relationship between buildings and streets. These include required step-downs and setbacks from abutting residential properties as well as requirements for larger building walls to be broken up into smaller segments.
  • Incentives for public benefits. Adds performance bonuses to allow additional FAR, and in some cases height, in exchange for public benefits, such as: 
    1. Affordable housing
    2. Green features (e.g., green roofs and landscaped areas)
    3. Publicly accessible plazas
    4. Historic preservation
    5. Affordable commercial space
  • Ground floor uses on main streets. Encourages ground floor activity, including ground floor windows and active commercial uses in key places.
  • Better design. Expands the Design overlay zone to several new areas within the major centers identified in the Comprehensive Plan. These centers are expected to grow substantially over time, and additional design tools will help create high quality, pedestrian-supportive places.  
  • Public notice. Proposes enhanced neighborhood notification or contact requirements for development in mixed use zones. This would include neighborhood and business associations at a minimum.
  • Parking. The project is moving forward in tandem with an update to on-street parking management tools that could be applied in high growth centers and corridors. For more information click here.

Review the Draft Concept Report

A Mixed Use Zones Draft Code Concept Report has been shared with the project stakeholder advisory committee and is available for public review. The draft comprises several documents, including the entire report, an appendix and a shorter summary for easier reading.

Read the Mixed Use Zones Code Concepts Report here.

Next steps

The MUZ update is an early implementation project for the new Comprehensive Plan. The zoning regulations will be voted on by both the Planning and Sustainability Commission and City Council.

The concept draft is available now and will be followed by a discussion draft this summer. Public comments on both the concept draft and discussion draft will be accepted until late summer or early fall. A proposed draft will be released in the fall, and the Planning and Sustainability Commission will subsequently hold a public hearing. Eventually, the MUZ project will join other code update projects making their way to City Council for consideration and adoption with other tasks to implement the Comprehensive Plan.

For more information, visit the Mxied Use Zones Project website at www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/mixeduse.

 

PSC News: June 9, 2015 Meeting Recap

CC2035 SE Quadrant Plan — work session / recommendation; Comprehensive Plan — work session

Agenda

  • CC2035 SE Quadrant Plan — work session / recommendation
  • Comprehensive Plan — work session

Meeting files

An archive of meeting minutes and documents of all Planning and Sustainability Commission meetings are available at http://efiles.portlandoregon.gov/webdrawer.dll/webdrawer/search/rec?sm_class=uri_7223&count&rows=50.

Updated Growth Scenarios Report shows draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan helps Portland make significant progress toward a prosperous, healthy, equitable and resilient city

Through extensive transportation and land use modeling, the report shows how the new land use plan will increase Portlanders’ access to complete neighborhoods, transit and parks while reducing per capita vehicle miles traveled.

In the next 20 years, Portland will be home to approximately 123,000 more households and 142,000 new jobs.

Portland’s existing zoning and Proposed Comprehensive Plan provide more than enough room to accommodate future residential growth. This means we can choose the best places to focus or prioritize new housing. The recently released Growth Scenarios Report evaluates several patterns — or scenarios — against a set of criteria for new residential development.

The Scenarios Report evaluates both the expected distribution of future growth throughout Portland and the benefits from infrastructure investments identified in the Citywide Systems Plan (CSP) and Transportation System Plan (TSP).

The Growth Scenarios Report shows that Portland’s long-range plan for growth, coupled with transportation and infrastructure investments, makes significant progress toward the Portland Plan’s aspirational goals for 2035.

Read the revised Growth Scenarios Report.

By focusing growth in vibrant centers and along bustling corridors, the draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan helps us reduce carbon emissions, gets people closer to jobs, provides more affordable housing, and creates demand for stores and restaurants. It also makes better use of our existing infrastructure like streets, transit systems, parks and pipes.

Impact Analysis

As a supporting document for Portland’s Comprehensive Plan Update, the Growth Scenarios Report serves as an impact analysis of future development in Portland through the year 2035. Many of the criteria for the analysis come from the Portland Plan Measures of Success adopted in 2012.

Through extensive transportation and land use modeling, the report tells us how the Proposed Comprehensive Plan will perform against measurements for transit and active transportation, complete neighborhoods, access to parks and family-wage jobs, and carbon emissions.

Specifically, the report shows that the Proposed Comprehensive Plan:

  • Increases households in complete neighborhoods by 10 percent (to 73 percent) by 2035.
  • Reduces transportation-related carbon emissions by 60 percent from 2010 to 2035.
  • Cuts per capita vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by 27 percent by 2035. It also reduces the share of commuter trips in single-occupant vehicles as well as carbon emissions.
  • Increases the share of commute trips made by transit, bicycling, walking and carpools from 39 percent in 2010 to 65 percent by 2035.
  • Increases the amount of households with frequent transit access by 15 percent.
  • Increases by 16 percent Portlanders’ access to low-stress bicycle networks, particularly in East and North Portland.
  • Increases the number of households with convenient access to family-wage jobs.

Portland can accommodate future household growth and do it in ways that help meet our goals. But providing enough affordable housing, especially for the lowest income households, will continue to be a significant challenge.

The City needs to pursue a coordinated growth and investment strategy to meet its objectives. The growth strategy supports development in high-performing centers and corridors that already have relatively complete infrastructure systems. The investment strategy fills gaps in historically underserved areas to reduce disparities and increase equity.

Against a high bar, the Growth Scenarios Report demonstrates that the land use and investment decisions in the Proposed Comprehensive Plan gets Portland 75 to 80 percent toward our 2035 goals.

Public hearing at Planning and Sustainability Commission

The public is invited to submit testimony to the Planning and Sustainability Commission on the Growth Scenarios Report in writing or in person at a public hearing on Tuesday, June 23, 2015. Please check the PSC calendar one week prior to the hearing to confirm details. 

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Lent Elementary celebrates solar on Earth Day

BPS recognizes Solar Forward donors for contributions to Lent Elementary solar array.

Lent Elementary Solar Education

Educators know that solar energy systems are powerful teaching tools for school-aged children. Solar is a visible demonstration of science in service of sustainability. This is why the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and Portland Public Schools partnered to install a 10-kilowatt solar electric system on the rooftop of the Oliver P. Lent Elementary School music building.

On April 22, dozens of children, parents and educators gathered in the garden next to the music building to celebrate Earth Day and the power of the sun. Jesse Hunter, science teacher, garden educator and overall force for sustainability at Lent Elementary, welcomed the crowd and kicked off the festivities. A group of music students entertained the crowd with songs. Kyle Diesner, BPS, was on hand to present the school community with a commemorative plaque recognizing all the Solar Forward founders and donors.

Jeff Hamman, Energy Specialist at Portland Public Schools, told the crowd, “We know that this solar system combined with all the other great initiatives that are taking place here at Lent School will help provide unique learning opportunities and demonstrate to our students and the community our commitment to being both good citizens and environmental stewards.”

Lent Elementary Solar Panel

The Lent Elementary solar array is the second of three systems installed under Solar Forward, a pilot effort by BPS to test crowdsourcing for community-based renewable energy projects. The other two arrays are located at Portland Parks and Recreation’s Southwest Community Center and at Hacienda Community Development Corporation’s Ortiz Center.

 

City of Portland establishes Deconstruction Advisory Group

City Council will hear public testimony at June 3 Portland City Council meeting.

Deconstruction is the practice of dismantling structures in order to salvage and re-use materials, such as cabinetry, light fixtures, tile or support beams. These recovered materials can then be incorporated into another building, sold, or donated to material salvage nonprofits for a tax deduction. Deconstruction helps Portland meet waste and emissions reduction goals expressed by the Comprehensive Plan Update and the Climate Action Plan.

The Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) has convened a Deconstruction Advisory Group (DAG) to explore options for increasing deconstruction activities relative to traditional mechanized demolitions, and to share expertise critical to making deconstruction work for Portland.The advisory group is made up of a wide range of experts including deconstruction contractors, salvage retail outlets, historic preservationists, developers, a recycler/hauler, the Bureau of Development Services (BDS), Mayor’s office, and Metro staff, as well as members of the Development Review Advisory Committee (DRAC) and United Neighbors for Reform.The DAG has convened four times over the past month, discussing a wide range of program options.

The conversation has focused on these key topics:

  • Incentives (such as expedited permits or financial benefits).
  • Minimum re-use requirements.
  • Health and safety of workers and neighbors.
  • The need to support industry education and training.

BPS will make recommendations to Portland City Council on June 3 regarding ways to increase deconstruction activity in Portland

BPS will recommend deconstruction incentives and next steps before City Council on June 3rd. At the hearing, there will also be an option for public testimony.More information about the Deconstruction Advisory Group, meeting minutes, calendar, and contact information are all available on the BPS website at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/67421