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City Council finishes public hearing on Better Housing by Design proposals – will consider amendments on November 21

City Council finished hearing public testimony on the Better Housing by Design Recommended Draft on Wednesday, November 6, 2019.

The Nov. 6 public hearing started at 2 p.m. and lasted until 5 p.m., and 42 people testified. Much of the testimony was on draft amendments requested by City commissioners. A lot of testimony was about whether or not to limit development bonuses for affordable housing based on transit access. There was also testimony regarding parking exemptions for affordable housing, and a broad range of perspectives were shared on proposals related to historic preservation.

If you missed this hearing, you can view a video of the hearing here. Community members have contributed over 250 pieces of written or verbal testimony on the BHD proposals.

Written testimony will continue to be accepted through November 21, 2019. You can provide testimony on the broader Recommended Draft proposals, as well as on the draft amendments. Please see below for information on how to submit testimony.

Next Up – Amendments

City Council will discuss and vote on potential amendments to the Recommended Draft on Nov. 21, 2019, starting at 3:45 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall. These amendments will include those previously requested by commissioners (see below), as well as any new amendments that may emerge from commissioners’ consideration of recent public testimony. Any revisions to the list of draft amendments will be posted online prior to the Nov. 21 session, which the public is welcome to attend, but it will not be a public hearing.

Learn about the draft amendments

  • A table summarizing the draft amendments requested by commissioners (as of November 5) can be found here.
  • The full amendments package with complete code language and commentary is here.
  • Updates to the list of potential BHD amendments will be posted here: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/80031     

These potential BHD amendments include:

  • Amendments to the Deeper Housing Affordability Bonus to provide options for affordable ownership housing.
  • Expanded exemptions from minimum parking requirements for projects providing affordable housing.
  • Limitations on using development bonuses on sites where historic buildings have been demolished in the multi-dwelling and mixed-use zones.
  • Prohibitions on using development bonuses on sites more than a 1,500-foot walking distance of frequent-service transit.
  • Disallowing 100-foot building height in the RM4 zone in historic districts.
  • Requirements for large sites to include indoor common areas, such as community or recreation rooms.
  • Zone changes in the King’s Hill Historic District to reduce allowed building scale.

How to Testify

Written testimony will continue to be accepted through November 21, 2019 (you must include your name and address):

Use the Map App:

www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/mapapp

Select Better Housing by Design and click on the "Testify" button. Testifying in the Map App is as easy as sending an email. And once you press “submit,” you can see your testimony in the Testimony Reader in real time. You can also read other people’s testimony.

By U.S. Mail:

City Council
Better Housing by Design Testimony
1221 SW Fourth Avenue, Room 130
Portland, Oregon 97204

Links to Recommended Draft documents:

Maps

Citywide maps showing the Recommended Draft Zoning Map and Comprehensive Plan Map can be viewed here:

Learn about how the Recommended Draft multi-dwelling zoning changes will affect specific properties by using the online Map App: www.Portlandmaps.com/bps/mapapp

Select Better Housing by Design and enter in an address to learn about the proposed zoning for a property.

You can find all the Recommended Draft material online at: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/79578

Draft BHD amendments material:  https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/80031

For more information

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.

City Council to consider amendments to Better Housing by Design on November 6 at 2 p.m.

A list of potential amendments to the Better Housing by Design Recommended Draft is now available for review.

Portland City Council will consider and vote on amendments to the Recommended Draft on Wednesday November 6, 2019, following a continuation of the public hearing on the Better Housing by Design Recommended Draft, which is scheduled to start at 2 p.m.

The draft amendments were requested by City Commissioners and are subject to change before being considered by City Council on November 6. That’s because commissioners will continue to consider public testimony until the public hearing closes that same day.

The potential BHD amendments include the following:

  • Amendments to the Deeper Housing Affordability Bonus to provide options for affordable ownership housing.
  • Expanded exemptions from minimum parking requirements for projects providing affordable housing.
  • Limitations on using development bonuses on sites where historic buildings have been demolished in the multi-dwelling and mixed-use zones.
  • Prohibitions on using development bonuses on sites more than a 1,500-foot walking distance of frequent-service transit.
  • Disallowing 100-foot building height in the RM4 zone in historic districts.
  • Requirements for large sites to include indoor common areas, such as community or recreation rooms.
  • Changes to the zoning of specific historic properties to support their preservation.
  • Zone changes in the King’s Hill Historic District to reduce allowed building scale.
  • A series of minor code amendments, including allowances for triplexes and fourplexes on small lots.

Updates to the list of potential BHD amendments will be posted here:  https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/80031

You can testify on these draft amendments and on the Recommended Draft using the Map App or during the November 6 public hearing. Community members who signed up to testify for the October 2public hearing (but were not able to testify before the hearing closed) will be given priority to testify early on November 6.

Anyone else who would like to provide testimony on the Better Housing by Design Recommended Draft or the draft amendments is also welcome to testify during the November 6 public hearing.

Written testimony will continue to be accepted through 2 p.m. on November 6, 2019. Please see below for information on how to submit testimony.

How to Testify

Testify in person

You may speak for three minutes to City Council, and your testimony will be added to the public record.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019, at 2 p.m. (you can sign-up to testify starting at 1:30 p.m.)
Council Chambers at City Hall
1221 SW 4th Avenue
Portland, Oregon

To confirm the date, time and location, check the Council agenda at www.portlandoregon.gov/auditor/26997

Testify in writing

by November 6, 2019 at 2 p.m. (you must include your name and address):

Via the Map App: www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/mapapp

Select Better Housing by Design and click on the "Testify" button. Testifying in the Map App is as easy as sending an email. And once you press “submit,” you can see your testimony in the Testimony Reader in real time. You can also read other people’s testimony.

By U.S. Mail

City Council
Better Housing by Design Testimony
1221 SW Fourth Avenue, Room 130
Portland, Oregon 97204

Links to Recommended Draft resources

Maps

Citywide maps showing the Recommended Draft Zoning Map and Comprehensive Plan Map can be viewed here:

Learn about how the Recommended Draft multi-dwelling zoning changes will affect specific properties by using the online Map App: www.Portlandmaps.com/bps/mapapp

Select Better Housing by Design and enter in an address to learn about the proposed zoning for a property.

You can find all the Recommended Draft material online at: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/79578

For more information

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.

City Council hearing on Better Housing by Design continued to November 6 at 2 p.m.

Testimony on proposed changes to multi-dwelling zones prompts Mayor to commend testifiers.

The City Council public hearing on the Better Housing by Design Recommended Draft has been continued to Wednesday, November 6, 2019, starting at 2 p.m. Commissioners will continue to hear testimony because not everyone who signed up to testify on October 2 was able to before the hearing closed at 6 p.m.

If you were one of these people and would like to testify on November 6, you will be given priority to testify early based on your place on the October 2 sign-up list. Anyone else who would like to testify on the Better Housing by Design Recommended Draft may also testify at the November 6 hearing.

Written testimony will continue to be accepted until November 6, 2019, at 2 p.m. (see below for how to submit testimony).

Public Hearing Recap

At the October 2 hearing, project staff provided a summary of the Better Housing by Design proposals, followed by Daisy Quinonez representing the Planning and Sustainability Commission. After testimony from the Urban Forestry Commission, the Historic Landmarks Commission, and community partners, City Council heard testimony from the general public.

Public testimony covered a range of topics, including positive impacts of the code amendments on affordable housing, housing diversity, East Portland, and outdoor space for residents. A  range of perspectives on historic preservation and parking requirements was also expressed.

Mayor Wheeler concluded the hearing by saying, “This was some of the best public testimony I’ve heard in a long time … people spent a ton of time preparing for this and it showed.”

If you missed it, you can watch a video of the hearing here, starting at 1:57:20. 

How to Testify

Testify in person at the continued City Council public hearing on November 6
You may speak for three minutes to City Council, and your testimony will be added to the public record.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019, at 2 p.m.
Council Chambers at City Hall
1221 SW 4th Avenue
Portland, Oregon

To confirm the date, time and location, check the Council agenda at www.portlandoregon.gov/auditor/26997

Testify in writing by November 6, 2019 at 2 p.m. (you must include your name and address):

Use the Map App:

www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/mapapp

Select Better Housing by Design and click on the "Testify" button. Testifying in the Map App is as easy as sending an email. And once you press “submit,” you can see your testimony in the Testimony Reader in real time. You can also read other people’s testimony.

By U.S. Mail:

City Council
Better Housing by Design Testimony
1221 SW Fourth Avenue, Room 130
Portland, Oregon 97204 

Links to Recommended Draft documents:

Recommended Draft Summary – Short summary of the Recommended Draft’s major proposals

Volume 1: Staff Report – Summary and analysis of Recommended Draft Zoning Code and Map amendments

Volume 2: Zoning Code Amendments – Recommended Draft Zoning Code and Comprehensive Plan full text and commentary

Volume 3: Additional Zoning Code Amendments – Zoning Code amendments updating other chapters for consistency

Maps

Citywide maps showing the Recommended Draft Zoning Map and Comprehensive Plan Map can be viewed here:

Map of Recommended Draft Zoning

Map of Recommended Draft Comprehensive Plan Designations

Learn more about the multi-dwelling zoning changes and specific properties by using the online Map App: www.Portlandmaps.com/bps/mapapp

Select Better Housing by Design and enter in an address to learn about the proposed zoning for a property.

For more information

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.

 

Testify to City Council about the Better Housing by Design project

Commissioners will hear public testimony about the update to Portland’s multi-dwelling zones on October 2 at 3 p.m.

The Better Housing by Design Recommended Draft has been available for public review since the beginning of August. Now Portland City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposals for improving the design and livability of housing in multi-dwelling zones. This is your chance to tell City Council what you support or think should be changed in the BHD proposals, which include zone changes for new apartments and other multi-family development throughout the city.

October 2 is also the deadline to submit written testimony (see details below). 

How to testify

Testify in person at the City Council public hearing

You may speak for three minutes to City Council, and your testimony will be added to the public record.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019, at 3 p.m.
Council Chambers at City Hall
1221 SW 4th Avenue Portland, Oregon

To confirm the date, time and location, check the Council agenda at www.portlandoregon.gov/auditor/26997

Testify in writing between September 4 and October 2, 2019

You must include your name and address.

Use the Map App:

www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/mapapp

Select Better Housing by Design and click on the "Testify" button. Testifying in the Map App is as easy as sending an email. And once you press “submit,” you can see your testimony in the Testimony Reader in real time. You can also read other people’s testimony.

By U.S. Mail:

City Council
Better Housing by Design Testimony
1221 SW Fourth Avenue, Room 130
Portland, Oregon 97204

What happens after the hearing?

In October and November, after testimony closes and following the public hearing, Council will discuss potential changes to the proposals before making their final decision on the code amendments.

Council work session

In advance of the public hearing, staff briefed City Council on the Recommended Draft on Tuesday, September 10.

Watch a video of the work session.  

What’s in the Recommended Draft?

The proposed code changes will help ensure that new development in the multi-dwelling zones better meets the needs of current and future residents and contributes to the positive qualities of the places where they are built.

City Council will consider proposals for zoning code amendments that:

  • Expand housing options with new incentives for affordable housing and by providing more flexibility for the numbers of units on sites.
  • Address needs for residential outdoor space, provide new options for green features, and make parking optional in more situations.
  • Guide the design of new multi-family development so that it contributes to pedestrian-friendly streets and relates to the surrounding neighborhood.
  • Provide design standards specific to East Portland and bring new approaches to creating needed street connections.
  • Make changes to the zoning map and regulations for higher density zones in historic districts to provide incentives for affordable housing while meeting historic preservation goals.

Use the Map App to learn more

Learn about how these zoning changes will affect specific properties by using the online Map App: www.Portlandmaps.com/bps/mapapp

Select Better Housing by Design and enter an address to learn about the proposed zoning for a property.

Recommended Draft documents

Maps

Citywide maps showing the:

All Recommended Draft resources

For more information

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. 

Better Housing by Design Proposals Move Forward

Planning and Sustainability Commission votes unanimously to recommend new rules to improve development in Portland’s multi-dwelling zones.

On Tuesday, April 30, Portland’s Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) made their final amendments and voted to recommend that City Council adopt the Better Housing by Design Revised Proposed Draft.

Commissioners emphasized their support for the BHD proposals, which expand the range of housing options in multi-dwelling zones, provide incentives for affordable housing, and create more livable outdoor space in East Portland.

Key elements of the proposal

The revised draft keeps most of the elements of the original proposals, including  design standards, greater flexibility for allowed numbers of units, bonuses for affordable housing, allowances for ground-floor commercial uses on major corridors, and provisions for outdoor spaces and green elements.

Final amendments the PSC voted to support include:

  • Expanded allowances for daycare facilities in multi-dwelling zones.
  • Allowances for narrower walkways when serving small numbers of residential units.
  • Revised base and bonus FARs in the large scale RM4 zone in historic districts.
  • Revised mapping of the RM3 and RM4 zones in the Alphabet and King’s Hill historic districts to reflect the scale of historic buildings.
  • Additional FAR transfer allowances for historic buildings with seismic upgrades in the multi-dwelling and mixed-use zones.

During this meeting staff also presented information on the BHD’s potential effects on the production of affordable housing units and opportunities for less costly units.

What do the RM3 or RM4 zones look like?

The letters R and M stand for “residential” and “multi-dwelling.” The numbers refer to the scale of development allowed. RM1 is the lowest scale mutli-dwelling zone and generally allows buildings up to three stories tall. RM4 is the largest scale multi-dwelling zone, allowing buildings as tall as seven to ten stories.

View illustrations and read descriptions of each zone.

What does this mean for Portlanders?

Multi-dwelling zones cover only about 8 percent of Portland’s land area. Located in areas that allow people to live close to services and transit, these zones  are expected to absorb about a quarter of the city’s population growth over the next 20 years. The Better Housing by Design project updates the regulations for multi-family housing to ensure that new development better meets the needs of current and future residents. The proposals will provide more opportunities for people to live in healthy housing that is affordable, accessible, and close to services and transit.

For these and other reasons, the PSC was enthusiastic in its support of the proposals. Commissioner Katie Larsell, a resident of East Portland, said, “There are some wonderful design changes, especially for East Portland, so that when development comes there will be more livable spaces for people.”

Commissioner Ben Bortolazzo stated, “The amendments bring greater flexibility and more options for people ... to live that they can afford, depending on where they are in life.” And Commissioner Jeff Bachrach felt the proposals could have a significant impact on development in the future.

You can view the meeting and discussion here (starting at 7:00).

The next draft of the proposal, the Recommended Draft, including all the approved amendments, will be forwarded to City Council for a public hearing and vote. Community members will be able to testify in person at the hearing or in writing before Council votes to adopt the proposals. Dates for the Council hearing and deliberations have not yet been determined.

For more information