Neighborhood contact requirements were first introduced in Portland with the Albina Community Plan in 1993. Since then they've been expanded and applied to more areas of Portland. The intent of the Neighborhood Contact requirement is to provide an information sharing opportunity between the applicant or representative of a development proposal and the people who live, work and pass by the site on a regular basis - to better allow neighbors to give constructive feedback about certain development proposals.
In May 2019, Portland City Council adopted the Neighborhood Contact Code Update Project so that neighborhood contact requirements would be applied more consistently across Portland. The new Neighborhood Contact requirements result in some projects notifying of potential development with a sign on site and notice, with larger projects also holding an informational meeting.
The primary changes to Neighborhood Contact requirements involve:
- Delivery method - Now applicants can use email or standard mail to notify neighborhood associations, district neighborhood coalitions, business associations, and sometimes school districts, of an upcoming building permit or land use review application.
- Burden of Responsibility - The current version places responsibility on the neighborhood association to host a meeting. The new version places responsibility on the applicant when an informational meeting is required.
- Notification - There is a new requirement that applicants install a sign or signs on a property notifying neighbors of an upcoming development proposal before an application is submitted to the City. The Bureau of Development Services also has a new online tool for those want to know about larger development proposals ahead of time.
The Neighborhood Contact requirements go into effect on December 2, 2019, but because these requirements must be completed before a building permit or land use review is submitted, new requirements may be applicable to projects now.
Building permit or land use review applications requiring Neighborhood Contact that are submitted on or after December 2, 2019 will not be accepted without required documentation showing the new requirements have been followed.
The Bureau of Development Services (BDS) is working on tools to make the new Neighborhood Contact requirements easier and more understandable to follow. This includes:
- A Zoning Code Information Guide that explains the requirement and where it applies in more detail;
- A Neighborhood Resources web page that provides information about the Neighborhood Contact requirement, how to stay informed and how to provide input on other development proposals;
- A template notification sign in fillable .pdf, Illustrator, and InDesign and a new Administrative Rule providing details about requirements to properly sign a project. The templates will be posted online and ready for use by October 2, 2019.
- Upcoming information online with instructions for developers to more easily follow the steps necessary to complete the new Neighborhood Contact requirements, including sample notifications and responses, and a form to certify compliance; and
- A video announcing the new Neighborhood Contact requirements for customers in the Development Services Center and sent to applicants, developers, neighborhood associations, district neighborhood coalitions, business associations and school districts.
For further information, visit the new Neighborhood Contact requirements page.
Submittal requirements to show compliance with the new requirements for building permit or land use review applications submitted on or after December 2, 2019 include the following:
- Copy of the notification email or letter sent to the neighborhood association and other required organizations;
- List of the email or postal addresses to which the notification was sent;
- A photograph of the sign or signs posted on the site and describing the proposed development; and
- A signed certification that timelines and other procedural steps were followed.
For further information about the Neighborhood Contact requirement, email Matt Wickstrom or call at 503-823-6825.