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Residential Infill Project one step closer to City Council

Planning and Sustainability Commission votes 5 - 4 to recommend new rules for more units and smaller buildings in Portland's neighborhoods.

On Tuesday, March 12, 2019, Portland's Planning and Sustainability Commission made a few final amendments to their Revised Proposed Draft and voted 5 – 4 to allow more types of housing in single-family neighborhoods. The vote followed several work sessions about the impacts of the Commissioners' initial amendments, which increased the number of allowed units on lots in single-dwelling zones. Their amendments also expanded where these additional units would be allowed citywide, with some exceptions for natural resources and hazards.

After discussing the projections for increased housing units with the proposed changes and the potential impact on vulnerable households, Commissioners voted to recommend the proposed changes to City Council. These changes will allow more housing options in Portland’s neighborhoods, including duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes.

The proposals would also create options for homeowners to add more ADUs to their property in most R2.5, R5 and R7 single-dwelling zones. These additional units, along with limits on building mass and scale, will provide Portlanders more housing choices at lower costs and within a smaller building "envelope" than the large single houses currently replacing demolished homes. 

Addressing displacement

While all the Commissioners expressed concerns about displacement occurring under current rules, the majority of the Commission found that the project would provide multiple benefits for Portland’s future housing needs, while also reducing displacement pressure citywide. Several Commissioners thought the proposals did not do enough to address potential displacement concerns and voted against the package.

View the March 12 PSC work session (RIP starts at 00:32:00; PSC vote with individual commissioners’ closing remarks start at 2:43:00).

You can also view the Power Point presentation, with several charts and graphs to help explain the difference between several analyses of the project and projected outcomes. 

Next Steps

The PSC’s Recommended Draft of the Residential Infill Project, including their amendments to the Revised Proposed Draft and an updated Map App, will be published later this spring. City Council hearing(s) are tentatively scheduled for September. More information about the schedule will be shared as details are finalized.

For general information about the project

Visit the website: www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/infill

Or give us a call:

  • Morgan Tracy, Project Manager, 503-823-6879

  • Julia Gisler, Public Involvement, 503-823-7624

Revised draft of the Residential Infill Project ready for review

Project staff to brief the Planning and Sustainability Commission on Revised Proposed Draft on February 12; vote to recommend to City Council in March.

Over the past few months, the Residential Infill Project team has been revising the Proposed Draft to reflect the Planning and Sustainability Commission’s (PSC) possible amendments and preparing materials to answer questions about how the proposed new rules will affect Portland's single-dwelling neighborhoods:

  • What is the economic feasibility of the proposal?
  • How much more housing will be created under these new rules?
  • What will these units cost?
  • Who will benefit?
  • What will be the effect of these proposals on vulnerable populations?
  • Will more or fewer households be displaced?

Now the highlights of the Revised Proposed Draft will be presented to the PSC on Tuesday, February 12, starting around 2 p.m. You can watch the briefing live on the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability YouTube channel.

Key Changes from the Proposed Draft

After hearing public testimony on the initial proposals to "right size" the scale of new development and increase housing options in single-dwelling zones, commissioners requested changes to:

  • Increase additional housing options to include up to four units (fourplexes) on both corner and non-corner lots.
  • Allow additional housing options in all R2.5, R5 and R7 (single-dwelling) zones except:

• Areas with flood or landslide hazards or significant natural resources. These areas, designated by a new “z” Constrained Sites overlay zone, will retain existing regulations for corner duplexes or one accessory dwelling unit with a house.
• Lots that do not meet minimum lot sizes for three or four units (R2.5 = 3,200 sq ft; R5 = 4,500 sq ft; R7 = 5,000 sq ft)
• Infrastructure constraints, including lack of paved streets, sewer or water service.

  • Increase the allowed size (FAR) for duplexes and triplexes (no increase for a fourplex). Examples on an R5 (5,000 sq ft lot):

• 2,500 sq ft – one house (same as Proposed Draft)
• 3,000 sq ft – one building with two units
• 3,500 sq ft – one building with three or four units

  • Provide a bonus FAR for keeping an existing house or for providing one affordable unit at 80 percent MFI.
  • Allow historically narrow lots in R5 to be built with a pair of attached houses.
  • Eliminate minimum parking requirements.  

Review the documents and maps

The following Revised Proposed Draft reports have been posted on the project website.

Appendices that have not been revised can be found here.

Explore the Map App. Parcel-specific information is available through an updated Map App that reflects the revised mapping proposals.

Upcoming PSC meetings on the Revised Proposed Draft

  • Tuesday, February 12 – Briefing: Revised Proposed Draft (RIP is on agenda from 2 to 4 p.m.). Staff will walk the Commission through their revised proposals to see how their tentative amendments work together as a package.
  • Tuesday, February 26 and Tuesday, March 12: Work Sessions and Possible Vote

(Please confirm the date and time on the agenda one week prior by visiting the PSC calendar)

When will the public get to weigh in on these amendments?

The PSC’s possible amendments took into consideration the public testimony they received last spring on the Proposed Draft of the Residential Infill Project. They are anticipating making their recommendations to the City Council in March. The public will be able to provide testimony on these recommendations to City Council as part of their review — anticipated in summer 2019.

Want more information on the PSC’s work sessions and proposed changes?

The dates of the eight PSC work sessions and accompanying materials are posted on the project website under Planning and Sustainability Commission Materials. All PSC meetings are streamed live, and past meetings may be viewed at Portland BPS YouTube channel.

For general information about the project

Visit the website: www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/infill.

Or give us a call:

  • Morgan Tracy, Project Manager, 503-823-6879
  • Julia Gisler, Public Involvement, 503-823-7624

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is committed to providing meaningful access. For accommodations, modifications, translation, interpretation or other services, please call 503-823-7700 or use City TTY 503-823-6868, or Oregon Relay Service 711. 503-823-7700.

Residential Infill Project staff briefs the PSC on revised economic analysis

Planning and Sustainability Commission learns about the impact of their revisions to staff's proposal; more units, lower rents.

At their December 11 meeting, staff briefed the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) on the revised Residential Infill Project economic analysis prepared by Johnson Economics. The analysis reflects the PSC’s tentative amendments to the Proposed Draft of the Residential Infill Project from last September. That’s when they directed staff to revise the proposal to incrementally increase floor area limits for additional units. This would allow more housing options and expand them to all R2.5, R5 and R7 zones, with some exceptions for natural resources and hazards. 

In addition to the revised economic analysis, staff provided a memo to PSC that summarizes the background, methodology and findings of the report. Some key findings include:

  • The revised proposals would significantly increase unit production over the next twenty years (+24,000) with a modest increase in demolitions (+117).
  • The incremental increase in FAR allowances for additional units provides a bigger incentive to build housing types other than a single house.
  • These housing types (duplexes, triplexes and additional ADUs) have smaller unit sizes which are much less expensive than a new single house (about 56%      less on average).
  • This helps provide housing choices for people across a broader range of the income spectrum, in more areas of the city.

All PSC meetings are livestreamed; you can watch the December 11 briefing here (RIP starts at 2:25:00).  

Residential Infill Project back at PSC in February 2019

The PSC briefing on their Revised Proposed Draft is scheduled for February 12, 2019. Confirm the date and time on the agenda one week prior by visiting the PSC calendar. 

PSC Briefing: Revised Residential Infill Proposals – Tuesday, February 12, 2019 (12:30 to 3:30 pm). Staff will walk the Commission through their revised proposals to see how their tentative amendments work together as a package. Updated reports, maps and summary will be posted on project website prior to the meeting. This briefing will be followed by PSC work session(s), with a vote on their recommendations to City Council anticipated in March.

When will the public get to weigh in on these amendments?

The PSC’s amendments are based on public testimony they received last spring on the Proposed Draft of the Residential Infill Project. They will not hold another public hearing before sending their recommendation to City Council. The public will be able to testify on the Residential Infill Project recommendations at the City Council public hearings — anticipated in summer 2019.

When will a parcel-specific map be available?

Parcel-specific information will be available through an updated Map App, available online prior to the February 12 PSC briefing. After the PSC makes their recommendation to City Council, the Map App will also be updated to reflect the PSC’s recommended proposals.

Want more information on the PSC’s work sessions and proposed changes?

The dates of the eight PSC work sessions and accompanying materials are posted on the project website under Planning and Sustainability Commission Materials. All PSC meetings are livestreamed and past meetings may be viewed at Portland BPS YouTube channel.  

For general information about the project

Visit the website at www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/infill.

Or give us a call:

  • Morgan Tracy, Project Manager, 503-823-6879
  • Julia Gisler, Public Involvement, 503-823-7624

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is committed to providing meaningful access. For accommodations, modifications, translation, interpretation or other services, please call 503-823-7700 or use City TTY 503-823-6868, or Oregon Relay Service 711. 503-823-7700. 

Residential Infill Project Update: Next steps for amendments to Proposed Draft

Staff studying and implementing changes requested by the Planning and Sustainability Commission; new meetings set.

Since early fall, the Residential Infill Project team has been revising the Proposed Draft of the Residential Infill Project to reflect changes the PSC requested at their September 11 work session. These changes require staff to revise maps, rework zoning code language, as well as analyze and test the revised proposals.

Staff are also developing new graphics and maps for the updated staff reports and the project summary handout. These materials will be posted on the project website before the PSC briefing on the revised proposals (now scheduled for February 12; see schedule below).

Upcoming PSC Meetings  

Both meetings are from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Check the time on the agenda one week prior by visiting the PSC calendar. All PSC meetings are streamed live on the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability YouTube channel.  

  • Tuesday, December 11, 2018 | Briefing: Revised Economic Report – Staff will share the results of the revised Economic Report and analysis completed by Johnson Economics, which will be posted on the project website prior to the meeting.
  • Tuesday, February 12, 2019 | Briefing: PSC Revised Residential Infill Proposals – Staff will walk the Commission through their revised proposals to see how the changes work together as a package. Updated reports, map and summary will be posted on project website prior to the meeting. This briefing will be followed by PSC work session(s), and a vote on their recommendations to City Council is anticipated in March.

When will the public get to comment on these amendments?

The PSC’s amendments are based on public testimony received last spring on the Proposed Draft of the Residential Infill Project. They will not hold another public hearing before sending their recommendation to City Council. The public will be able to testify on the Residential Infill Project recommendations at the City Council public hearings — anticipated in summer 2019.

When will a parcel-specific map be available?

The PSC’s direction is to expand the areas that allow additional housing options to all R2.5, R5 and R7 zones, with some exceptions for natural hazard and resources — and infrastructure — constraints. Preliminary maps show this area will be approximately 90 percent of the R2.5, R5 and R7 residential zones citywide. Parcel-specific information will be available through an updated Map App, available online prior to the February 12 PSC briefing. Prior to the City Council hearing(s), the Map App will be updated as needed to reflect the PSC’s recommended proposals.

More information on the PSC’s work sessions and proposed changes

The previous eight PSC work sessions and accompanying materials are posted on the project website under Planning and Sustainability Commission Materials. All PSC meetings are livestreamed and may be viewed by clicking “Video” on the top of the YouTube channel home page.  

The following documents summarize the PSC’s tentative direction:

  • Strike-thru underline version. To see how PSC’s tentative direction would change the proposals of the April Proposed Draft, staff prepared a strike-thru underline version that reflects PSC’s tentative direction from their September 11 work session.
  • Revised summary of draft proposals. Staff has reorganized the draft proposals into two topic areas: 1) housing options and scale; and 2) building design.
  • Map of “a” overlay with PSC’s tentative direction. The “a” overlay map expands to almost all R2.5, R5 and R7 lots, with some exceptions for natural hazard and resources, as well as infrastructure, constraints. This is a concept map; staff will not be able to share a detailed parcel-level map until the PSC’s concept is further analyzed and reviewed by other City technical staff.

For general information about the project

Visit the website at www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/infill

Or give us a call:

  • Morgan Tracy, Project Manager, 503-823-6879
  • Julia Gisler, Public Involvement, 503-823-7624

Planning and Sustainability Commission directs Residential Infill Project staff to revise RIP proposals to reflect their amendments

Commissioners felt the initial proposals didn’t go far enough to address the housing shortage in Portland.

Since public hearings on draft zoning changes to create more housing options in Portland’s residential neighborhoods last May, the PSC held a series of work sessions on the RIP proposals. Over the course of 8 work sessions, they deliberated over the technical details of the proposal. The result is a series of amendments to the proposed zoning code and map changes.

At their September 11 work session, the PSC reviewed these amendments and gave staff the nod to begin revising the zoning code language and maps to incorporate their changes. 

Prioritizing housing choice and options
The Commission’s revised proposals would allow a wide range of housing types, including triplexes and fourplexes in single-dwelling zones. They also pushed to broaden the area where these housing choices would be allowed. To address the demolition of single-family homes, they created more incentives to retain existing houses, such as allowing them to be split into multiple units. They pushed for more flexibility for accessory dwelling units to incentivize their construction. And they looked for ways to create more homeownership opportunities for first-time buyers.

"If we continue our pattern of development today of tearing down smaller existing homes and building much larger single-family homes, we will lose the opportunity to create more housing options," said PSC Chair Katherine Schultz. “With our amendments, we’re prioritizing a wide range of housing types over single-family homes, internal conversions over demolition, the environment over increased consumption of land, and great neighborhoods for people of all ages, incomes and abilities.”

Watch the video(s)
You can watch the PSC as they give staff direction on their amendments to the Proposed Draft. The RIP discussion begins at 1:09:00.

Read the materials
You can also review staff-prepared work session materials for the September 11 work session and preliminary vote. Recaps of previous work sessions are also available on the RIP news updates.

Next steps
Once project staff have written the code to implement the proposed changes and revised the map, they will come back to the PSC for a final vote later this fall.

The public will be able to weigh in on the PSC’s recommended map and code after they are forwarded to City Council, which will hold public hearings and accept written testimony on the RIP Recommended Draft.

Want more information?
Visit the project website.

Or give us a call:

  • Morgan Tracy, Project Manager, 503-823-6879
  • Julia Gisler, Public Involvement, 503-823-7624