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Summary Meeting Notes: February 14, 2013 Residential Development and Compatibility PEG meeting

Summary Meeting Notes

Residential Development and Compatibility Policy Expert Group
Date: February 14, 2013
Time: 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
PEG Attendees: Matt Davis, Tamara DeRidder, John Gibbon, Michael Hayes, Gabe Headrick, Rodney Jennings, Rod Merrick, Erika Palmer, Eli Spevak, Justin Wood 
Other Attendees: Krestina Aziz, Alicia McCuster, Devta Khalsa, Linda Nettekoven; BPS staff:Barry Manning / Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) PEG lead; Debbie Bischoff, Phil Nameny

Facilitator: Deb Meihoff, Communitas

View the original agenda, including materials, for this meeting.

Welcome, overview, introductions

Process Updates

Presenter: Barry Manning

Summary: Public workshops will be held in February and March (see handout for details) - PEG members are encouraged to attend at least one workshop.  The Bureau is also available for hosted workshops with community groups, especially targeting Portlanders who are typically underrepresented in involvement efforts - contactBarry Manning or Marty Stockton with BPS to arrange.

Comments on the working draft of Comprehensive Plan goals and policies are due by May 1, 2013. The PEG will be reviewing at upcoming meetings, but individual PEG members are welcome to submit individual comments through the comment feedback section and the policy survey [linked here and also available on the Comprehensive Plan Update website].

The PEG will be wrapping up its work in June.  In preparation, BPS will work with the PEG to draft a memo summarizing the PEG’s input on the Working Draft and also capturing the many good ideas for implementation, outstanding issues, and concerns that have surfaced throughout the PEG dialogue. The purpose of the memo is to inform leadership about desired changes to the Working Draft goals and policies, and also to ensure that conversations about implementation measures / desired outcomes are not lost in the interim period between adoption of the Comprehensive Plan Update and the subsequent work needed to implement the Plan. May and June meetings will include PEG review of the memo, in addition to other topics.

Remainder of the PEG work plan as anticipated:

  • March 14 Feedback on the Working Draft Part 1. PEG members requested that this discussion include considering how Chapter 1 / Community Involvement relates to implementation of the development policies and what the five pattern areas policy could mean for implementation.
  • April 11 (1) Working Draft / consideration of public workshop input; (2) potential discussion issue topic of economic/commercial activities in residential areas (example: short term lodging, institutions, home occupations)
  • May 9 (1) Preliminary Comprehensive Plan maps presentation and review; (2) discussion of any outstanding policy topics / issues not already captured; (3) review first draft of PEG memo
  • June 13 FINAL PEG MEETING: (1) Final review of PEG memo; (2) mapping process updates;  (3) review Comprehensive Plan Update adoption process and next steps

BPS is still developing the next steps for community involvement following the conclusion of PEG work. There may be follow-up/implementation groups formed at some point in the future (TBD) and PEG members will likely be contact in the event of a recruitment.  The BPS District Liaison staff will be working with local communities on the Comprehensive Plan Update maps.  PEG members noted interest in methods and approaches for mapping to achieve policy objectives - transition districts between intensely commercial/ industrial areas and lower intensity residential areas; mapping through specific objectives (i.e. ‘food desert’ lens). Additional discussions about mapping will take place in May and June.

Comprehensive Plan Working Draft Review

Presenter: Barry Manning, BPS PEG Lead

Summary: Barry summarized the ways the Comprehensive Plan is used in ongoing City business and provided an overview of the Working Draft - how it is organized and pieces that are different than the current Comprehensive Plan. There are many goals and policies that relate directly to issue topics the RDC PEG has discussed and others that could indirectly guide the way RDC policies are implemented.  [These policies are presented in the files linked below under Handouts: RDC Topic and Policy Review and Relevant Policies List, respectively.]

RDC PEG questions and comments about the Working Draft overview:

  • What are the new ideas, as related to RDC topics? Where are the ‘philosophical shifts’ in approach? Which of the policies are derivative of the current Comprehensive Plan and which are wholly new?
  • Staff mentioned that the inclusion of health, equity, the urban design framework, and context-sensitive design (as opposed to ‘compatible’ design) are new thinking included in the Working Draft. Barry will check in with other staff to determine if there are any other news ideas related to the RDC topics.
  • Where is the balance with Five Portland’s concept - if taken too far, this could make development even more complicated. Is the intent to have five different zoning codes? Need to balance the desire for detailed context-sensitive design with a manageable system. Policies don’t yet include a check to ensure balance.
  • Are there context-sensitive principles that apply to residential needs beyond historic preservation?
  • What is the definition of multi-dwelling residential? All attached housing or some other threshold?
  • Policies regarding infrastructure provisions should reference influences outside the control of the City - compliance with state and federal regulations on stormwater, water, energy efficiency, etc.
  • Do the draft goals and policies support a development process in historic and conservation districts that is more manageable and less expensive than the current system? What is a policy that could clarify the issue?
  • Draft policy language continues to assume that low intensity residential areas will continue to be directly adjacent higher intensity and density areas. It would be better to develop a policy to support scaled transitions between intensities - something that guides use of transitional zoning.
  • Transition policies are difficult to assess without graphic explanation. Words aren’t enough.
  • RDC PEG discussed relationship and conflicts with using opaque buffers while trying to provide an adequate pedestrian network. Policies don’t seem to address the need to consider active transportation in balance with the buffering needs.
  • Where is the policy supporting buffering between lower intensity residential areas and interstate highways or major roadways (very intense uses of land)? Or consideration of concerns about air quality for residential areas adjacent major transportation corridors?
  • Buffering is about more than visual impacts - it’s about noise and potential public health impacts (reference to 5.51.b).
  • For the policies that use the term ‘encourage’, it would be helpful if they also included language as to why something is being encouraged (examples: Do communal kitchens necessarily make for healthier eating? Why is modular housing being encouraged?)
  • What is a ‘Civic Corridor’ in Portland? Need to describe what it means and what it could mean for implementation in the future.

Handouts and resources:

Public Comment 

  • Linda Nettekoven (Community Involvement PEG members) provided additional information about Chapter 1, Community Involvement. She explained that Chapter 1 goals and policies are high level direction and that the CI PEG is also working on a ‘public involvement manual’ to accompany the Comprehensive Plan policies, as required by state law. The manual is where the details will be about how community involvement should take place, when, successful methods, etc.

Next steps and follow up

  • Staff will determine if there are other ‘new ideas’ of which the PEG should be aware.
  • PEG members are encouraged to continue the conversation about the Working Draft on the Idea Board - Barry will send out the link again.
  • Working Draft of goals and policies will be discussed at the March and part of April PEG meetings.
  • The RDC PEG may take up discussion of economic activities in residential areas in April.

For more information, please contact either Barry ManningBureau of Planning and Sustainability at 503-823-7965 or or Deb Meihoff, Facilitator at 503-358-3404 or