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Overlay Zones

Alternative Design Density (a) overlay zone
The purpose of the Alternative Design Density Overlay Zone is to focus development on vacant sites, preserve existing housing and encourage new development that is compatible with and supportive of the positive qualities of residential neighborhoods. The concept for the zone is to allow increased density for development that meets additional design compatibility requirements.
 
Buffer (b) overlay zone
The Buffer overlay zone requires additional buffering between nonresidential and residential zones. It is used when the base zone standards do not provide adequate separation between residential and nonresidential uses. The separation is achieved by restricting motor vehicle access, increasing setbacks, requiring additional landscaping, restricting signs, and in some cases by requiring additional information and proof of mitigation for uses that may cause off-site impacts and nuisances.
 
Design (d) overlay zone
The Design Overlay Zone promotes the conservation, enhancement, and continued vitality of areas of the City with special scenic, architectural, or cultural value. This is achieved through the creation of design districts and applying the Design Overlay Zone as part of community planning projects, development of design guidelines for each district, and by requiring design review or compliance with the Community Design Standards. In addition, design review or compliance with the Community Design Standards ensures that certain types of infill development will be compatible with the neighborhood and enhance the area.
 
Environmental ( (p) and (c) and NRMP) overlay zones
Environmental zones protect resources and functional values that have been identified by the City as providing benefits to the public. The environmental regulations encourage flexibility and innovation in site planning and provide for development that is carefully designed to be sensitive to the site’s protected resources. The environmental regulations also carry out Comprehensive Plan policies and objectives.
  • Purpose of the Environmental Protection Zone
    The Environmental Protection zone provides the highest level of protection to the most important resources and functional values. These resources and functional values are identified and assigned value in the inventory and economic, social, environmental, and energy (ESEE) analysis for each specific study area. Development will be approved in the environmental protection zone only in rare and unusual circumstances.
The Environmental Protection overlay zone is applied wherever the City determines that highly significant resources and functional values are present. The Environmental Protection overlay zone is shown on the Official Zoning Maps with the “p” symbol.
  • Purpose of the Environmental Conservation Zone
    The Environmental Conservation zone conserves important resources and functional values in areas where the resources and functional values can be protected while allowing environmentally sensitive urban development.
The Environmental Conservation overlay zone is applied wherever the City determines that significant resources and functional values are present. The Environmental Conservation overlay zone is shown on the Official Zoning Maps with the “c” symbol.
  • Natural Resource Management Plan (NRMP). Additionally, Natural Resource Management Plans may contain regulations that supersede or supplement the regulations of this chapter. Whenever natural resource management plan provisions conflict with other provisions of this chapter, the natural resource management plan provisions supersede. Non-conflicting provisions supplement the provisions of this chapter. Maps 430-9, 10, 11 and 12 show Natural Resource Management Plan areas.
Future Urban (f) overlay zone
The Future Urban overlay zone limits development in future urban areas. Future urban areas are, (1) all areas beyond the Metropolitan Service District’s Urban Growth Boundary (UGB), and (2) areas within the UGB to which the extension of full urban services would not be cost effective or would cause unacceptable harm to the environment. The Future Urban overlay zone limits development by prohibiting the creation of new lots with a total area of less than 20 acres.
 
Greenway ( (g), (i), (n), (r), or (q) ) overlay zones
The Greenway regulations are intended to:
  • Protect, conserve, enhance, and maintain the natural, scenic, historical, economic, and recreational qualities of lands along Portland ’s rivers;
  • Establish criteria, standards, and procedures for the development of land, change of uses, and the intensification of uses within the greenway;
  • Increase public access to and along the Willamette River for the purpose of increasing recreational opportunities, providing emergency vehicle access, assisting in flood protection and control, providing connections to other transportation systems, and helping to create a pleasant, aesthetically pleasing urban environment; and
  • Implement the City’s Willamette Greenway responsibilities as required by ORS 390.310 to 390.368; and
  • Implement the water quality performance standards of Metro’s Title 3, which are intended to protect and improve water quality to support designated beneficial water uses, and to protect the functional values of the water quality resource area which include: providing a vegetated corridor to separate protected water features from development; maintaining or reducing stream temperatures; maintaining natural stream corridors; minimizing erosion, nutrient and pollutant loading into water; filtering, infiltration and natural water purification; and stabilizing slopes to prevent landslides contributing to sedimentation of water features.
River Natural (n). The River Natural zone protects, conserves, and enhances land of scenic quality or of significant importance as wildlife habitat.
 
River Recreational (r). The River Recreational zone encourages river-dependent and river-related recreational uses which provide a variety of types of public access to and along the river, and which enhance the river’s natural and scenic qualities.
 
River General (g). The River General zone allows for uses and development which are consistent with the base zoning, which allow for public use and enjoyment of the waterfront, and which enhance the river’s natural and scenic qualities.
 
River Industrial (i). The River Industrial zone encourages and promotes the development of river-dependent and river-related industries which strengthen the economic viability of Portland as a marine shipping and industrial harbor, while preserving and enhancing the riparian habitat and providing public access where practical.
 
River Water Quality (q). The River Water Quality zone is designed to protect the functional values of water quality resources by limiting or mitigating the impact of development in the setback.
Aircraft Landing (h) overlay zone
The Aircraft Landing overlay zone provides safer operating conditions for aircraft in the vicinity of Portland International Airport by limiting the height of structures and vegetation.
 
Main Street Node (j) overlay zone
The Main Street Node overlay zone regulations encourage a mix of residential, commercial, and employment opportunities within identified centers of activity along Sandy Boulevard . The zone allows for efficient use of land at increased densities for the mutual reinforcement of public investments and private development. Allowing additional height and floor area for all uses encourages transit-supportive densities and a mix of uses and activities.
 
Main Street Corridor (m) overlay zone
The Main Street Node overlay zone regulations encourage higher density residential uses by allowing greater building heights, reducing required building coverage for residential development; and allowing more flexibility in site design. The intent of the zone is to provide transit-supportive levels of residential uses, in addition to commercial uses along the Sandy Boulevard main street, between centers of commercial and mixed-use activity.
 
Scenic Resources (s) overlay zone
The Scenic Resource zone is intended to:
  • Protect Portland ’s significant scenic resources as identified in the Scenic Resources Protection Plan;
  • Enhance the appearance of Portland to make it a better place to live and work;
  • Create attractive entrance ways to Portland and its districts;
  • Improve Portland ’s economic vitality by enhancing the City’s attractiveness to its citizens and to visitors;
  • Implement the scenic resource policies and objectives of Portland ’s Comprehensive Plan.
The purposes of the Scenic Resource zone are achieved by establishing height limits within view corridors to protect significant views and by establishing additional landscaping and screening standards to preserve and enhance identified scenic resources.
 
Light Rail Transit Station (t) overlay zone
The Light Rail Transit Station overlay zone encourages a mixture of residential, commercial, and employment opportunities within identified light rail station areas. The zone allows for a more intense and efficient use of land at increased densities for the mutual re-enforcement of public investments and private development. Uses and development are regulated to create a more intense built-up environment, oriented to pedestrians, and ensuring a density and intensity that is transit supportive. The development standards of the zone also are designed to encourage a safe and pleasant pedestrian environment near transit stations by encouraging an intensive area of shops and activities, by encouraging amenities such as benches, kiosks, and outdoor cafes, and by limiting conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians.
 
Pleasant Valley Natural Resources (v) overlay zone
The purpose of the Pleasant Valley Natural Resources overlay zone is to:
  • Protect and conserve significant natural resources in Pleasant Valley, recognizing that existing houses and other existing uses will continue and limited new development will occur in the zone;
  • Facilitate restoration and enhancement of stream corridors, wetlands, and forests within Pleasant Valley;
  • Maintain streams and riparian areas as a natural area amenity for the community of Pleasant Valley;
  • Protect existing floodplains and wetlands, and restore these areas for improved hydrology, flood protection, aquifer recharge, and habitat functions;
  • Protect upland habitats and enhance connections between upland and riparian habitats within Pleasant Valley and between Pleasant Valley and the nearby habitats of Powell and Clatsop Buttes and Butler Ridge;
  • Maintain and enhance water quality and control erosion and sedimentation through revegetation of disturbed sites and through limits on construction, impervious surfaces, and pollutant discharges in the zone; and
  • Conserve the scenic, recreational, and educational values of significant natural resources in the zone.
Portland International Airport Noise Impact (x) overlay zone
The Portland International Airport Noise Impact overlay zone reduces the impact of aircraft noise on development within the noise impact area surrounding the Portland International Airport . The zone achieves this by limiting residential densities and by requiring noise insulation, noise disclosure statements, and noise easements.