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District maps preview Comprehensive Plan Update Part 2

BPS E-News, August 2013

In preparation for the next phase of the Comprehensive Plan Update, the BPS District Liaisons shared preliminary “working maps” with community members in May and June across the city. Through the district mapping conversations, planners sought ideas from community members about where growth should occur in each district, how best to connect key places, and what areas should be prioritized for investment or job growth.

Roughly 125 people participated in 10 meetings, including representatives from neighborhood associations, business associations, institutions and interest groups.

The project team is now preparing to launch Part 2 of the Comprehensive Plan Working Draft, with a mid-September release anticipated. Complementing Part 1 (Goals and Policies), Part 2 will include multiple maps for public discussion that illustrate how draft policies may affect the physical environment of the city and may help to identify areas of change and improvement. The bureau is also developing an online “map app” to facilitate that conversation.

Stay tuned on the Comprehensive Plan Update at: www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/pdxcompplan

Regulatory Improvement Program gets new launch

BPS E-News, August 2013

Back by popular demand, the City’s regulatory improvement program is now restored to the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s budget, after a three-year hiatus. Initiated in 2002 to “update and improve City building and land use regulations that hinder desirable development,” the program included the annual Regulatory Improvement Code Amendment Packages or RICAPs, for short. Focused on practical solutions, these bundles of code amendments provide a mechanism for quickly addressing ongoing technical and minor policy amendments to the City’s regulations.

From 2005―10, City Council adopted five packages of amendments (RICAPs 1 through 5), which resulted in many amendments to the City’s Zoning Code. 

With funding for the program restored, BPS is proposing a RICAP 6 workplan of 42 items to consider in the coming year. These were selected jointly by staff from BPS and the Bureau of Development Services from more than 300 items submitted to the Regulatory Improvement Requests (RIR) database.

The workplan includes issues around temporary uses and home occupations, bed and breakfasts, and short-term rental regulations; radio frequency facilities (wireless antennas); fences; and administrative process clarifications. In selecting the items for the workplan, staff did not include items that may be part of the larger Comprehensive Plan Update project that is also underway. 

On August 13, BPS asked the Planning and Sustainability Commission to approve staff’s selection of items to be evaluated for possible code changes in the coming year. With their approval, staff will begin their analysis and research during the remainder of 2013 and present potential code amendments to the PSC in 2014 for recommendation to City Council.

Read the full list of items in the RICAP 6 Workplan Appendix. To find out more about the Regulatory Improvement Workplan, check the project website

Planning and Sustainability Commission Gives the Green Light for RICAP 6 Workplan

Regulatory Improvement Code Amendment Package 6 (RICAP 6) will address 43 technical and minor policy items.

The Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) held a hearing on Aug. 13, 2013, to review the City’s proposed workplan for regulatory improvement or RICAP 6. Several people appeared to testify in support of examining issues related to short-term rentals, home occupation issues, wireless facility regulations and density transfers, among other topics.

The Regulatory Improvement Code Amendment Packages seek to continually update and improve City building and land use regulations. Suggestions for improving the City's codes come from issues identified by other City bureaus, members of the public and the development community. These suggestions are entered into the Regulatory Improvement Requests (RIR) database. Suggestions are prioritized based on the geographic reach of the issue, the severity of impact or how often the issue arises, and room for improvement of the existing regulation. Issues that may require a major change in policy are not addressed through RICAP. RICAP addresses technical matters and clarifications or refinement of existing adopted policy in typically a one-year revolving workplan.

The RICAP 6 workplan was unanimously approved by the PSC as proposed, which will enable staff to begin researching and analyzing potential code amendments for future consideration through the legislative process. Staff anticipates releasing a public discussion draft report in January 2014, and will return to the PSC for a hearing on the proposed code amendments in Spring of 2014.