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Summary Meeting Notes: May 9, 2013 Residential Development and Compatibility PEG Meeting

Summary Meeting Notes

Residential Development and Compatibility Policy Expert Group  

Date: May 9, 2013
Time: 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
PEG Attendees: Matt Davis, John Gibbon, Michael Hayes, Gabe Headrick, Rod Merrick, Erika Palmer, Emily Sandy, Justin Wood
Other Attendees: Sam Goush, Linda Nettekoven; BPS staff: Debbie Bischoff, John Cole, Julia Gisler, Michelle Kunec-North,Barry Manning (PEG lead), Chris Scarzello
Facilitator: Deb Meihoff, Communitas

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

Key Points and Outcomes

  • PEG provided additions and edits to the draft memo summarizing the key policy issues with residential development and compatibility.
  • PEG members previewed the ‘outreach maps’ for Phase 2 of the Comprehensive Plan update. They recommended including overlays of the pattern areas (‘Five Portlands’) and to highlight areas where the zoning is misaligned with current land uses, so the context for potential map changes is better understood.

Welcome, overview, introductions

Process Updates

Presenter: Barry Manning, BPS

Summary: Update on process and workshops; PEG feedback/Q&A 

  • A summary of the community feedback to date will be prepared and available later this spring / summer.  
  • RDC PEG will complete its work at the June meeting. BPS may be setting up special meetings this summer and fall to discuss mapping issues or to test policy direction and ideas for implementation. If and when these ad hoc meetings take place, Barry will extend an invitation to RDC PEG members.
  • The neighborhood coalitions are hosting a series of mapping conversations in May and June. There is limited space, so please contact Barry or other district liaison staff to sign up for the meetings. 

Part 2 Mapping Review

Presenters: Michelle Kunec-North and Debbie Bischoff, BPS

Summary: Michelle provided an update on the process to date and how the update will come together. The entire process will result in updates to the plan policies (Part 1 document the PEG has been focused on), Comprehensive Plan maps with the urban design framework and future land use, Capital and Public Facilities Plans, and the Transportation System Plan - the compilation of these elements make up the Comprehensive Plan. 

Debbie oriented PEG members to the ‘outreach maps’ that are being used for neighborhood-level conversations in May and June.  The City is not anticipating a need for widespread and significant changes to the current Comprehensive Plan map as part of the initial comp Plan adoption. There are known issues being addressed through revised policies and some that will need to be addressed through implementation / zoning. Changes to the Comp Plan land use map are expected to be refinements rather than major changes. The intent of the early conversations is to hear how each approach is working and to identify concepts to be included in the working maps that will be prepared for broader outreach and community review this fall.   In addition to the map layers Debbie presented, PEG members recommended including overlays of the pattern areas (‘Five Portlands’) and to highlight areas where the zoning is misaligned with current land uses, so the context for potential map changes is better understood.


  • Michelle’s PPT 

Summary Memo Review and Comment

Facilitators: Deb Meihoff, Communitas;  Barry Manning, BPS

Summary: Deb and Barry oriented PEG members to the content of the summary memo. PEG members were asked to provide their feedback on the overall content and specifically on whether or not the ‘key themes’ identified are the right set of issues and if the PEG’s feedback is captured accurately. PEG members provided comments, potential edits, and additions to the list of the themes:

  • The PEG’s conversations are summarized and reflect the general nature of the dialogue. PEG members stressed that the specific written comments they provided on policies will be most helpful as staff begins to edit the policy document.
  • PEG members are keenly interested to hear about implementation measures and to be involved in the zoning conversations going forward - this is where many of the residential development and compatibility issues need to be addressed.
  • The City needs to more clearly articulate how the Five Portland / pattern areas concept would be used in practice. They feel that the pattern areas should not create even more complexity in development code. There is a concern that the pattern areas could result in yet another overlay to the base zone.  Simplification of the code is preferred. The PEG also recommends this conversation get underway soon.  If pattern areas are a key element to the urban design framework and policy direction, the City needs to figure out sooner rather than later how and if it will work through development.
  • PEG members recommend expanding the description of the ‘compatibility’ theme to address not just physical compatibility (density), but also compatibility of uses (intensity).
  • It is not apparent in the policy document how the City will get to the desired outcome of ‘complete communities’.
  • PEG would like to stress the need to find a better balance between development flexibility and certainty. The current system is not balanced to get to the desired outcomes - adequate residential availability and choices for our growing and diverse population along with maintenance of the development quality and context for our stable and thriving residential areas. The need to balance flexibility and certainty is a key theme that came out of the PEG conversations.
  • PEG members generally support the notion of “Five Portland’s,” but the characterization of the pattern areas in the policies is inaccurate and not necessarily appropriate in the development context (example: evergreen trees do not reflect built / development characteristics, they only reflect the environment in which development is occurring.)
  • Issues of equity around residential development should be included in the themes.  The issues area affordability and expanded housing choice, especially the need for flexible housing types.
  • Generally, the PEG agrees that the City as a whole needs to communicate better and more clearly what the development expectations within residential areas.  Communications need to be consistent and constant, not just when a change is being proposed.


  •  Draft RDC PEG Summary Memo (May 7, 2013 draft) 

Public Comment 

[There were no public comments]

Next steps and follow up

  • Deb and Barry will revise ‘key themes’ in the draft memo and send out to PEG members for another round of reviews. PEG members are asked to submit suggested changes prior to the next PEG meeting.
  • Final meeting of the RDC PEG in June will include discussion of a few critical mapping issues and finalization of the PEG summary memo.
  • PEG members may be invited, on an ad hoc basis, to future working sessions with staff as they proceed with public process for Part 2, Comprehensive Plan Map.
  • Neighborhood Centers PEG will continue to meet through the summer - RDC PEG members are welcome and encouraged to listen into their conversations. Anyone can address the Centers PEG during the public comment period. 

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