After a three-year [confirm] hiatus, the Regulatory Improvement Code Amendment Project (RICAP) is back with code amendments to ensure that the City continually adapts to “keep Portland livable.” Changing needs, new laws and court rulings, advanced technology and innovations, and shifting perceptions require that the City’s regulations be updated and improved on an ongoing basis. Short-term rentals (like AirBnB), radio frequency towers and commercial filming in Portland are some of the trends that have shaped the the most recent package, called RICAP 6.
The RICAP 6 work plan was adopted by the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) at a public hearing on Aug. 13, 2013. Many of the RICAP items selected by the PSC for staff to further analyze are not necessarily the ones that will result in code amendments. Staff have released a Discussion Draft or public review, and comments are welcome until Feb. 21, 2014. Staff will incorporate those comments into a Proposed Draft, which will be presented to the Planning and Sustainability Commission in April.
Short Term Rentals: Providing flexibility for homeowners and certainty to neighbors
Recently, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of houses, apartments and condominiums being rented informally on a short-term basis through Internet sites such as AirBnB and Home Away. In Portland, as of September 2013, Airbnb had more than 1,300 listings (up from only 107 in January 2011). The current code includes these types of short-term rentals into the same category as traditional bed and breakfast accommodations, which require a conditional use permit to operate. The draft code amendments create a permit category that will allow renting one to two bedrooms in the house, apartment or condominium where the operator lives as their primary residence.
Radio Frequency Transmission Facilities (RFTF): Complying with federal regulations
Speaking of the mobile economy, smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices are on the rise, driving demand for more wireless sites and services. In 2011, the number of mobile devices in the United States surpassed the population. As wireless service providers continue to expand their networks, cities must update their code to comply with Federal Communications Commission regulations. In addition to ensuring compliance with the FCC, the suggested code amendments address such issues as development standards for wireless facilities as well as landscaping and screening around them.
Lights, Camera, Action Portland!
Over the years, the City of Portland has occasionally been the location for filming movies and TV programs. Films such as Kansas City Bomber (1972), featuring Raquel Welch as a roller derby queen, and Gus Van Sant’s Drug Store Cowboy (1989) take place in Portland’s streets, open spaces and buildings. More recently, the television series Portlandia and Grimm are filming entire episodes in Portland. City policy promotes filming activities as an economic development tool, and the Portland Film Office ─ through the Portland Development Commission ─ coordinates commercial filming activities. The new code amendments will allow commercial filming as a temporary use in all zones. Filming will continue to be subject to the procedures coordinated by the City’s film office, however, for proper permits (i.e., right-of-way, parks use) and notification to affected neighborhood and business associations.
Read the entire RICAP 6 Public Discussion Draft and comment by Friday, Feb. 21, 2014.
Comments may be submitted by mail: 1900 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201; FAX: 503-823-7800; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.