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What’s new from the Residential Infill Project?

Project staff are developing draft code and map amendments for community review in the fall.

Since City Council approved a set of working concepts for the Residential Infill Project last December, the project team has been working with other City bureaus and local agencies to develop the draft Zoning Code and mapping amendments. Community members will get a chance to review and comment on those proposals in a few months.

Opportunities to review draft code and map concepts

Staff are planning a series of public review events this fall to share these draft ideas with the community before finalizing proposals for the Planning and Sustainability Commission’s public hearings. The updated timeline below is included in the latest project summary sheet.    

                 

Now, let’s clear up some misunderstandings …

We know this is a controversial project and some rumors have been circulating, especially on social media sites like Nextdoor. Because we don’t respond to questions or statements on these platforms, we’ve created a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to address some of the misunderstandings. Here are a couple rumors the FAQs hope to dispel:

  • “The Residential Infill project is a done deal.”

The project is not over; it is in midstream. Phase I: Concept Development has been completed, and we are now in Phase II: Code and Map Amendments. Phase I was completed last December when City Council accepted the Concept Report. The concepts in the report gave staff direction to develop a formal proposal as part of Phase II, which involves developing amendments to the Zoning Code and Zoning Map for public review this fall. After the community weighs in on a draft of code and map amendments during the summer, staff will prepare a Proposed Draft for the Planning and Sustainability Commission to consider and hold public hearings in the fall. The PSC will amend the Proposed Draft based on public feedback and their deliberations, then send a Recommended Draft to City Council for a decision in 2018. See the timeline above for the steps in each phase.

  • “Council will be holding public hearings on the mapping options (this summer).”

City Council will not be holding more hearings on the conceptual boundary of the Housing Opportunity Overlay zone. When staff met with newly elected Mayor Ted Wheeler to discuss the overlay concept boundary and mapping approaches, he gave staff new direction: Rather than go back to Council, he wanted the PSC to hold hearings on a refined overlay zone boundary and forward their recommendations to Council.

The Mayor also directed staff to use the conceptual boundary on page 14 of staff’s Concept Report to Council as a starting place to begin further refinement of the boundary. To accomplish the boundary refinement, staff is working with representatives from PBOT, Tri-Met, Water, Fire, Police, BES, BDS, Metro and Housing Bureau. Potential boundary refinements will be based on infrastructure capacity, physical barriers, natural features and potential equity impacts. Project staff will share a draft boundary to Portlanders in the fall, before a proposed boundary goes to the PSC.

For More Information

Morgan Tracy, Project Manager, morgan.tracy@portlandoregon.gov, 503-823-6879
Julia Gisler, Public Involvement, julia.gisler@portlandoregon.gov, 503-823-7624

For general information about the project, visit the website at www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/infill

 

Residential Infill Project moves forward with Council direction

RIP team will begin transforming the adopted Concept Report into specific code and mapping changes.

Following City Council’s adoption of the Residential Infill Project Concept Report in December 2016, staff has begun “translating” the recommended concepts into specific code and mapping changes. Reflecting community input, the Council-approved and amended concepts would:

  • Reduce the maximum size of new houses and remodels in single-dwelling zones.
  • Establish a Housing Opportunity Overlay Zone that will allow more housing types (i.e., houses with two ADUs, duplexes, duplexes with detached ADUs, and triplexes on corner lots) in selected areas near centers and corridors with good access to neighborhood services.
  • Refine the boundary of the Housing Opportunity Overlay Zone to consider property lines, physical barriers, natural features, topography and infrastructure constraints.
  • Provide added flexibility for internal conversions of existing houses citywide.
  • Increase flexibility for cottage clusters on large lots citywide.
  • Explore incentives for age-friendliness, affordability and tree preservation.
  • Not allow historically narrow lots to be built on in the R5 zone.
  • Make citywide improvements to the R2.5 zone.
  • Revise parking rules for houses on narrow lots.

Council Documents
For more information about the concepts, see Council's Final Concept Report as well as a Summary of Council’s Adopted Concepts. Both of these documents have incorporated Council’s amendments. A Matrix of Council’s Amendments, arranged by topic area, has been prepared by staff.

Read news about the amendments published shortly after City Council voted on the RIP Concept Report on December 7.

Next steps
Mayor Ted Wheeler has directed Bureau of Planning and Sustainability staff to bring a recommendation on the RIP housing overlay zone boundary to the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) for public hearings and deliberations. The boundary will reflect the goals for the project as well as constraints, such as whether transportation and sewer infrastructure can handle the additional demand. The boundary may also be adjusted based on physical barriers and natural features and will be reviewed for potential economic, housing affordability and equity impacts.

This fall, prior to the PSC hearings, community members will have an opportunity to review the draft code changes and zoning map amendments. The PSC is expected to forward their recommendation to City Council by Spring 2018.

Staff is planning to conduct a check-in with the community later this spring. Stay tuned for more information on the timeline and upcoming ways to participate in the project.

For more information …
Morgan Tracy, Project Manager, morgan.tracy@portlandoregon.gov, 503-823-6879
Julia Gisler, Public Involvement, julia.gisler@portlandoregon.gov, 503-823-7624

For general information about the project, visit the website at www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/infill.

Residential Infill Project Begins Implementation Phase

Next phase of the Residential Infill Project is honing the direction from the adopted Concept Report into specific code and mapping changes needed to implement the concepts.

With City Council’s adoption of the Concept Report in December 2016 the next phase of the Residential Infill Project has begun: the process of honing the direction from the adopted Concept Report into specific code and mapping changes needed to implement the concepts.

Visit the project website to see Council's Final Concept Report as well as a Summary of Council’s Adopted Concepts. Both of these documents have incorporated the Council’s amendments. A Matrix of Council’s Amendments, arranged by topic area, has been prepared by staff. Additional information about the amendments can also be found in the blog published on December 13.

Next Steps

As part of revising the concepts to proposed code and map changes, staff will be identifying areas where additional research and testing may be needed and developing a methodology to assess potential mapping boundary refinements. The public will have an opportunity to review draft code changes and map amendments this summer before the Planning and Sustainability Commission and City Council start their public hearings this fall/winter. Stay tuned for more information on the timeline and upcoming ways to participate in the project.

For More Information

Morgan Tracy, Project Manager, morgan.tracy@portlandoregon.gov, 503-823-6879
Julia Gisler, Public Involvement, julia.gisler@portlandoregon.gov, 503-823-7624

For general information about the project, visit the website at www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/infill.


 

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: Traducción o interpretación | Chuyển Ngữ hoặc Phiên Dịch | 翻译或传译 | Письменный или устный перевод | Traducere sau Interpretare | Письмовий або усний переклад | 翻訳または通訳 | Turjumida ama Fasiraadda | ການແປພາສາ ຫຼື ການອະທິບາຍ | الترجمة التحريرية أو الشفهية | www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/71701

With some fine-tuning, City Council approves Residential Infill Project Concept Report

Staff to begin drafting code and map changes in early 2017

On December 7, 2016, City Council voted unanimously to approve a resolution that accepted the Residential Infill Project Concept Report with several amendments from the commissioners. Council amendments were based on testimony they heard at their November 9 and 16 public hearings. Nearly 120 people testified in person; Council also received approximately 550 letters and emails during their review.

Watch the videos of City Council sessions about RIP (November 1 a.m., November 9 p.m., November 16 p.m. and December 7 a.m.).

What did City Council approve?

Council voted on a set of concepts that aim to discourage home demolitions, while increasing housing choice in Portland’s single-dwelling residential neighborhoods. During the public hearings Mayor Charlie Hales often asked testifiers: If given the choice, would they 1) do nothing; 2) modify staff’s recommendations; or 3) start completely over. Most people responded that the recommendations were a good start but modifications were needed.

Overall, City Council agreed. Recognizing that the Concept Report gave general policy direction and guidance for staff to develop code and mapping proposals, Council made several modifications before they accepted the concept recommendations. Below is a summary of the Commissioner’s amendments by topic area.

Scale of houses

  • To create additional deterrents and reduce the number of 1:1 demolition replacements (e.g., demolishing one house only to replace it with a single new house) inside the Housing Opportunity Overlay Zone, Council voted to adjust the allowed size of single-dwelling houses in the overlay. For example, the direction is now to reduce the amount of living space on a 5,000 square foot lot to 2,000 square feet (as opposed to 2,500 square feet in the Concept Report). Council agreed to maintain the same size limit for duplexes, duplexes and ADUs, and triplexes on corners (e.g., 2,500 square feet on a 5,000 square foot lot) as what would be allowed for a single house outside the overlay. Commissioner Novick indicated he would like to see size limits on duplexes and triplexes studied further to ensure that resulting unit sizes were reasonable, but there was no official amendment.
  • Council approved several amendments introduced by Commissioner Fritz that address flexibility for tree preservation, increasing private open space areas, and reducing impervious surfaces.

Housing choices

  • Council did not expand the range of allowed housing types in the Housing Opportunity Overlay Zone (i.e., a house with both an internal and detached ADU, duplex, duplex with ADU, triplex on corner). However, they did direct staff to explore requirements and bonus unit allowances for age-friendly housing, affordability and additional tree preservation.
  • To encourage house internal conversions over demolition, Council voted to allow citywide an additional unit when an existing house is converted into multiple units (staff had recommended this bonus unit only in the Housing Opportunity Overlay Zone). Council also expressed the need to clearly distinguish an internal conversion from a near-demolition and rebuild.
  • Council did not vote on the conceptual boundary criteria for the Housing Opportunity Overlay Zone. Rather commissioners asked staff to come back early next year with mapping options. They cited issues around where it should be, how far from frequent transit, and if the David Douglas School District should be exempt because of student capacity issues. They also voted to ensure that transportation infrastructure constraints were added to the list of mapping considerations.

Narrow lots

  • Council did not approve staff’s recommendation to rezone historically narrow lots currently in R5 zones to R2.5. (Historically narrow lots were platted before modern zoning and don’t meet current R5 lot dimension requirements.) Instead, Commissioners voted for an amendment that would not allow individual R5-zoned historically narrow lots to be developed — even when they have been vacant for more than five years, as presently allowed.
  • Council also voted to remove staff’s recommendation that front-loaded garages not be allowed on detached houses on narrow lots, figuring these will be less common as a result of the change to not allow houses on R5 historically narrow lots. Narrow lots already zoned R2.5 zone will continue to be allowed.

For more detailed information about what City Council voted on, staff has prepared a matrix of the approved recommended concepts and the City Council amendments.

Next steps

The acceptance of the Concept Report sets the stage for the next phase of the Residential Infill Project: code writing and map amendment proposals. This phase, beginning early 2017, will include public review of a Discussion Draft, followed by public hearings at the Planning and Sustainability Commission and City Council before final adoption by City Council. For more information about the project, visit the website at www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/infill

Questions? 

Morgan Tracy, Project Manager, morgan.tracy@portlandoregon.gov, 503-823-6879
Julia Gisler, Public Involvement, julia.gisler@portlandoregon.gov, 503-823-7624

Hearings wrap up on Residential Infill Project, but written testimony accepted until November 23

Nearly 120 people testified in person to City Council about proposals that could reduce the scale of new and remodeled houses and help create more housing choices in Portland

City Council heard testimony from 119 people on the Residential Infill Project on November 9 and 16 and received 135 letters about the recommendations in the Concept Report. Next they will discuss the staff recommendations and could propose changes based on what they heard from the public. Commissioners will then vote on a resolution directing project staff to develop Zoning Code language and map changes over the next year, which will implement their approved concepts.

Learn more about the Residential Infill Project Concept Report 

STILL TIME TO TESTIFY

Council has held the record open until November 23 to give Portlanders more time to submit testimony in writing. Testimony must be received by midnight on November 23 and must include your name and address. You may send written comments …

  • Via U.S. Mail: 1221 SW Fourth Ave. Room 130, Portland, Oregon 97204
  • Via email: CCTestimony@portlandoregon.gov

Missed the public hearings? Watch videos of past City Council meetings at:  http://www.portlandoregon.gov/video/player/?tab=council  

COUNCIL VOTE

City Council will deliberate and vote on the recommendations in the RIP Concept Report in early December. Public testimony will not be heard at this time.

December 7, 2016, 10 a.m. (time certain)
Council Chambers at City Hall
1221 SW 4th Avenue

Check the Council agenda prior to the hearing to confirm the item is still scheduled. You may also watch the hearing streamed live on the Auditor's website.

NEXT STEPS

The code development process will begin in 2017 and include a Discussion Draft public review period, followed by Planning and Sustainability Commission hearings before going back to City Council for public hearings and a final decision.

For more information, visit the project website at www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/infill

Or contact project staff:

Morgan Tracy, Project Manager, morgan.tracy@portlandoregon.gov, 503-823-6879
Julia Gisler, Public Involvement, julia.gisler@portlandoregon.gov, 503-823-7624