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Updating the rules for new construction in residential neighborhoods
The idea of expanding the types of housing available in residential neighborhoods is nothing new. Some of Portland’s best-known neighborhoods offer a wide variety of housing types, including duplexes, triplexes, and townhomes mixed in amongst single dwelling homes.
Over the past few decades, City rules for types of housing in residential neighborhoods have become more flexible by allowing accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and duplexes on corners. The rule changes the City has been studying over the past two years build on these early ideas to meet today’s greater housing needs.
Over the past two years, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability has engaged Portlanders in the development of the proposed changes to our residential zoning rules through online surveys, open houses, public hearings, and e-mail updates, resulting in more than 15,000 comments and responses.
As part of our public engagement efforts, project staff convened a Stakeholder Advisory Committee comprised of community members, architects, developers and other affected Portlanders. Over the course of 18 months, they discussed issues and opportunities, ultimately helping to form a Concept Report that was presented to City Council. Council held public hearings and, with some amendments, approved the Concept Report in December of 2016.
Staff began developing the Zoning Code and map amendments needed to make the Council’s concepts rules for residential neighborhoods. In October of 2017 a Discussion Draft was published and the public had a 2-month window of opportunity to comment on the proposals. Comments received informed the proposals in the Proposed Draft. that will go before the Planning and Sustainability Commission for public hearings, discussions and deliberations before they vote to recommend the plan to the City Council.
Smaller houses, more choices
The rule changes would address concerns about rising housing costs and large new structures in three significant ways:
One piece of the larger housing affordability puzzle
It’s important to recognize that updating the residential zoning code is part of a larger effort to address housing affordability in Portland. Expanding the kinds of housing choices that are available in our residential neighborhoods is an important step to give more people the opportunity to live close to schools, parks, and jobs at a variety of price points. But it’s only one part of a larger, coordinated effort to address the city’s housing crisis.
The good news is, City and regional leaders are addressing the housing crisis on many other fronts, including: