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The City of Portland, Oregon

Planning and Sustainability

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More effective processes for design review are available for public consideration

Portlanders invited to give feedback on the Design Overlay Zone Amendments (DOZA) Process Discussion Draft through June 1.

doza-coverThe quality of building design matters for a growing city. And the rules and processes to ensure good, human-centered design for our most populated, growing and vibrant places is important for the entire community.

So, these rules need to be evaluated and updated periodically. The Design Overlay Zones Amendments projects — DOZA Process and DOZA Tools — do just that; they hit the reset button on the rules for Portland’s Design overlay zone (the d-overlay) and design review program. 

The DOZA Process Discussion Draft is now ready for review; a DOZA Tools Concept Report will be released in early May 2018.

Read the DOZA Process Discussion Draft.

What’s in the DOZA Process Discussion Draft?

DOZA Process proposes ways to make the design review process more efficient, predictable and transparent. The project proposes amendments to the Zoning Code that work in conjunction with ongoing administrative improvements being led by the Bureau of Development Services. BDS implements the City’s design review program through the development review process.

The DOZA Process proposes to:

  1. Revise the purpose statement for the Design overlay zone and related design chapters to reflect the direction of the new Comprehensive Plan.
  2. Clarify that floor area ratio (FAR) cannot be reduced as a condition of design review approval.
  3. In the Gateway plan district, allow smaller projects to use Community Design Standards as an alternative to a design review.
  4. Align the Type III design review and historic resource review process with an applicant’s design process by allowing phased submittals of materials, requiring early design conferences and ensuring focused commission deliberations and decision-making.
  5. Update the rules related to Design Commission membership to allow landscape architects as industry technical experts, and clarify that the public-at-large member is independent of these industries.

Portlanders are invited to learn more about the Discussion Draft and give their feedback in the coming weeks. This public outreach period is focused on familiarizing community members with the detailed code amendments in preparation for the Planning and Sustainability Commission and subsequent City Council hearings later this year.

Upcoming events

Community members are invited to an open house on May 9 to learn about the proposals, as well as the DOZA Tools Concept Report. Project staff will be available to answer questions about the draft changes to improve design review in Portland.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 5 – 7:30 p.m.
1900 SW 4th Avenue, Room 2500 (2nd floor)
TriMet: Multiple bus, MAX and streetcar lines

Staff will also be meeting with community groups and others to share information about the project to answer questions. If your group is interested in a presentation, please contact Kathryn Hartinger at Kathryn.Hartinger@portlandoregon.gov or (503) 823-9714.

How to comment

Comments are due by Friday, June 1, 2018. Send comments to Phil Nameny, DOZA Process Project Manager.

Emailphil.nameny@portlandoregon.gov

Mail
City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
Attn: DOZA Process
1900 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 7100
Portland, OR  97201

Next steps

Your comments on the Discussion Draft will be considered as we develop a DOZA Process Proposed Draft, scheduled for release in August 2018. The Planning and Sustainability Commission will hold public hearings on the Proposed Draft in September and October, make their amendments and vote to recommend a revised draft to City Council in December.

For more information, please visit the Design Overlay Zone Amendments website.

Where has the DOZA project been? Portlanders seeking design review want to know.

The Design Overlay Zone Amendments (DOZA) Process and Tools projects are gearing up for public feedback.

After doing additional research on peer cities and exploring new ideas for Portland, the Design Overlay Zone Amendments (DOZA) package is back. But with a twist.Multi-family housing unit with playground

It consists of only two projects now:
1. DOZA Process
2. DOZA Tools

DOZA Process remains about nine months ahead of DOZA Tools. Some work items that originally were part of the process updates, such as the thresholds, were moved to the tools updates so they can be implemented jointly with the new discretionary design guidelines and objective standards. However, the thresholds update specific to the Gateway plan district remains in the process updates.

DOZA PROCESS

DOZA Process is an effort to make the design review process more efficient, predictable and transparent. The project proposes amendments to the Zoning Code that work in conjunction with ongoing administrative improvements being led by the Bureau of Development Services (BDS).

The project proposals:

1. Revise the purpose statement for the Design overlay zone to reflect the direction of the Portland’s new Comprehensive Plan.
2. Clarify that floor area ratio (FAR) cannot be reduced as a condition of design review approval.
3. Expand options for smaller projects in the Gateway plan district, including the use of standards.
4. Align the Type III Design Review and Historic Resource Review processes with an applicant’s design process.
5. Update the rules related to Design Commission membership.


Next Steps

A DOZA Process Discussion Draft will be released April 10, 2018, and comments are welcome through June 1, 2018. Feedback on the Discussion Draft will be considered as staff develops a Proposed Draft, scheduled for release in August 2018. This draft will be considered by the Planning and Sustainability Commission in September and October.

DOZA TOOLS

DOZA Tools will create new discretionary design guidelines and objective design standards to implement the design overlay zone outside of the Central City. The project will also update the thresholds and exemptions for triggering review. And it may include additional concepts related to the Design overlay zone map and regulations related to civic buildings and character buildings.

Next Steps

A DOZA Tools Concept Report will be released May 2, 2018, and comments are welcome through the summer. Staff will consider feedback on the Concept Report as they develop a Discussion Draft, scheduled for release in November 2018.

Questions?

Contact DOZA Coordinator Kathryn Hartinger at (503) 823-9714 or Kathryn.Hartinger@portlandoregon.gov.

Project website: www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/70324

DOZA: From Assessment to Amendments

City kicks off projects to implement recommendations for improving the design overlay zone

While the acronym for the project has stayed the same, “DOZA” is transitioning from the Design Overlay Zone Assessment to a series of Design Overlay Zone Amendments, which will update the City’s codes, standards and guidelines related to the design overlay zone.

In 2016, the Bureaus of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) and Development Services (BDS) hired a consultant team to assess the City’s design overlay zone (d-overlay). The result was The Design Overlay Zone Assessment, which included a set of findings and recommendations to improve the process and tools that implement the d-overlay. City Council voted to accept the report in April 2017.

Now, BPS and BDS are ready to put those recommendations into action with the Design Overlay Zone Amendments (DOZA) package, which comprises three projects:

  1. DOZA Process. This project will amend the Zoning Code to update how the design overlay works. It will include adjusting the thresholds for Design Review, improving public notice requirements and realigning the City’s Design Review process with the applicants’ design process. These updates will go into effect in summer 2018.
  2. DOZA Tools. This project will rewrite two primary tools used to implement the design overlay:  the objective design standards and discretionary design guidelines. We’ll seek input from the public and work with a consultant to write the new Objective Design Standards and Discretionary Design Guidelines, which are expected to be finalized in summer 2019.
  3. DOZA Administration. This project is an ongoing effort to make the Design Review process more efficient through internal changes at BDS. Examples include increasing staff capacity, managing Design Commission meetings more effectively, and using new tools to facilitate Commission deliberation.

Next Steps

The public Discussion Draft of the DOZA Process project will be released in December 2017. The draft will be available on the project website and staff will be holding several public outreach meetings and an event to seek public input.

Questions?

Contact DOZA Coordinator Kathryn Hartinger at (503) 823-9714 or Kathryn.Hartinger@portlandoregon.gov.

Portland City Council votes to accept Design Overlay Zone Assessment consultant’s recommendations to improve design review and criteria

DOZA consultant’s recommendations for streamlining process will guide the Bureaus of Planning and Sustainability and Development Services to create more housing quickly while ensuring quality buildings.

“My priority clearly is more housing supply, sooner, at a lower cost, with less of a hassle factor while not creating garbage that we’re stuck with for 100 years.” — Mayor Ted Wheeler

“I’m unsurprisingly very concerned with how we are affecting development, specifically development of affordable housing. Certainly our intention is to streamline and accelerate this process.” — Commissioner Chloe Eudaly

“The way we grow does matter, and affordable housing doesn’t have to be ugly housing.” — Commissioner Amanda Fritz


On Wednesday, April 26, 2017, City Council heard from Design Overlay Zone Assessment (DOZA) project staff, design and historic landmark commissioners, and the public about the DOZA Final Report from project consultant Walker Macy. After considering stakeholder and public testimony, Commissioners voted to accept the report, authorizing the bureaus of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) and Development Services (BDS) to implement the recommendations.

Sponsored by Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, the DOZA recommendations will “... streamline the development review process and accelerate the construction of new housing,” said the Mayor in his introductory remarks.

Speaking remotely by phone, Commissioner Eudaly said she had been working on improving design review with BDS staff and “want(s) to increase public understanding of the process.” Short-term actions have already been implemented, remarked BDS Interim Director Rebecca Esau.

While noting her bureau’s collaborative work with BDS on the DOZA project, BPS Director Susan Anderson stated, “Fifty to sixty thousand more people will call the Central City home in 20 years. Design review can help us protect vibrant neighborhoods, but it can’t be a burden.”

What is the Design Overlay Zone and why does it matter?

The Design Overlay (d-overlay) Zone promotes the conservation, enhancement and continued vitality of areas of the city with special scenic, architectural or cultural value. It also supports quality development near high-capacity transit. This is achieved with the use of design guidelines for various d-overlay zones and by requiring design review or compliance with objective Community Design Standards. Design review or compliance with the Community Design Standards also ensures that certain types of infill development will be compatible with Portland's neighborhoods and enhance the surrounding areas.

But as Portland grows and more housing and new development is needed, design review needs updating to meet demand.

Gathering feedback for assessment and recommendations

The DOZA consultant team solicited feedback from architects, designers, developers, builders and community members to develop an assessment report, which was reviewed by staff and other stakeholders. Subsequently, Walker Macy developed a list of recommendations to strengthen the current system. This was also shared with stakeholders, including the Design Commission and the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC). 

Said Kat Schultz, PSC chair, “The design review thresholds need to be right-sized based on impact. Removing regulatory barriers will allow innovation and testing of new systems as well as give small developers and property owners a chance to succeed while furthering the equity goals in our Comprehensive Plan.”

Testimony on consultant’s recommendations

Mark Hinshaw from the Seattle office of Portland-based Walker Macy presented the results of the assessment and recommendations for improving the design review process.

“Design Review is not broken, but it needs a refresh,” said Hinshaw. “Part of Portland’s personality is the funky, strange, home-grown character of its neighborhoods and buildings. So we should let the small stuff go.”

Design Commissioner David Wark noted, “Portland has a reputation for moving the bar forward in terms of urban design and design excellence. To retain the qualities of Portland that make it special, design review and Design Commission will continue to be an important part of that process.”

“How much a project affects the public realm should not lose its importance,” remarked Historic Landmarks Commissioner Kristen Minor. “Changes at the street level have a much greater impact on the public realm than changes at the rooftop of a project, for instance. We strongly support the recommendation for greater input from neighborhood associations and would encourage applicants to reach out even in the planning phase of a project.”

Commissioners’ final thoughts before voting

Before voting to accept the DOZA recommendations, Commissioners shared their perspectives on design review as it relates to new development in Portland.

“I’m very appreciative of all of the broad recommendations that take into account how to continue to build community consistent with our values,” stated Mayor Wheeler.

Echoing concerns about more thorough outreach, Commissioner Amanda Fritz said, “We need to involve all of the communities, not just the traditional ones. I appreciate [the consultant’s] comments about getting notice to renters, for example. There are a number of ways we can increase our outreach, but it has to matter that people can participate..”

Commissioner Eudaly expressed appreciation for “comments from a whole range of folks —  even when there was tension or disagreement. These are fascinating and vital issues.”  

View the Council meeting and hearing about DOZA (starting at 1:05:27)

Next Steps

With the acceptance of the report, BPS and BDS staff will now begin improving Portland’s tools to implement the consultant’s recommendations. This will involve Zoning Code changes through a legislative process, updates to design guidelines and standards, and improvements to the design review process. Community members will have many opportunities to provide feedback on proposed changes, so look for updates on this page for upcoming news.

For more information about the DOZA project and to sign up for project updates, please visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/doza

Design Overlay Zone Assessment (DOZA) Final Report ready for public review and City Council hearing

Project consultant’s recommendations aimed at improving the design overlay (d-overlay) zone, including the design review process and review criteria.

The Design Overlay Zone Assessment (DOZA) project has reached its final stage, and the consultant’s recommendations are now published in a full-length report. The project team will present the DOZA results (or “findings”) and recommendations to City Council on April 26, and the community is invited to give their testimony during a public hearing at that time.

Read the report

In addition to the Final Report, summary sheets of the project are available. The report features recommendations to improve the d-overlay zone process and tools, including the Community Design Standards, Community Design Guidelines and the Central City Fundamental Design Guidelines.

It also includes work from all stages of the project: research of peer cities and findings gleaned from stakeholder interviews, online questionnaires, and evaluation of built projects.  

Comments on draft recommendations were gathered from a public open house and online questionnaire in addition to workshops with the Design Commission, Planning and Sustainability Commission, and staff in spring 2017. Feedback from all stakeholders helped to shape the final report.

What’s next?

On April 13 at 1:30 p.m. the project team will present the Final Report to the Design Commission at 1900 SW 4th Avenue, Room 2500A. Please check the Design Commission website to verify the scheduled time prior to the date.

Staff will brief the Planning and Sustainability Commission on April 25 at 5 p.m. at 1900 SW 4th Avenue, Room 2500A. Please check the PSC website to confirm date, time and agenda, or to watch the meeting live.

On April 26, City Council will hold a public hearing on the Final Report, scheduled at 3 p.m. in the Council Chambers at 1221 SW 4th Avenue. City Council will be taking testimony at the hearing. Please check the agenda the Friday before the hearing to confirm the date and time. You may also email written testimony to the Council Clerk at CCTestimony@portlandoregon.gov or send to 1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 130, Portland, OR 97204. Written testimony must be received by the time of the hearing and must include your name and address.

Many of the recommendations for improving the design review process are already underway. Other recommendations, specifically those that require a legislative process, such as adjusting the review thresholds and rewriting design standards and guidelines, will require more time and public input.

Following the April hearing at Council, BDS and BPS will finalize a work plan to proceed with the consultant’s recommendations.

Background

The DOZA project was initiated by the Bureaus of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) and Development Services (BDS) to improve Portland’s d-overlay zone. An independent consultant team, led by the Seattle office of Portland-based Walker Macy, was enlisted to assess the processes and tools of the design overlay zone (d-overlay).

The d-overlay is intended to achieve high-quality design for new buildings within areas of growth, as well as places with special architectural, cultural or scenic value.