City Council approves grant agreement to help with work on 'middle housing' bill
A grant the City of Lake Oswego submitted in May to help jump-start work on items related to House Bill 2001 recently was approved.
HB 2001 requires cities with more than 25,000 residents — or within Metro — to allow "middle housing" like duplexes, triplexes and other multi-unit, clustered housing options to be built on land zoned for single-family homes.
During the July 21 City Council meeting, the council unanimously approved the grant agreement with the State Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) for HB 2001 planning assistance and directed City Manager Martha Bennett to sign the agreement.
The grant amount is $45,000 and the city's contribution "will be for all costs in excess of the $45,000 DLCD grant, which is estimated to be approximately $20,000," the staff report read.
In May, the City Council authorized Mayor Kent Studebaker to sign a letter supporting a grant application to the DLCD.
The grant money goes toward consulting services for the city's planning under HB 2001, which will include drafting model code and minimum requirements to be compliant with the bill.
Senior Planner Erik Olson said requests for proposals for consultants to conduct the work they agree upon through the grant will be sent out, and they hope to have a consultant selected by early September.
The grant-funded work will provide information on neighborhood development patterns and HB 2001 requirements for a community planning process to comply with the bill by June 30, 2022.
The council also received a rulemaking update about the bill on the state level, though there are still a lot of unknowns.
Last year, the City Council requested staff keep them updated while conversations happened at the state level.
"Since that time, staff has tracked numerous meetings of the Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC) and other technical advisory committees established by DLCD to develop and refine detailed recommendations on how to implement the middle housing provisions of the bill," Olson's staff report read. "These technical advisory committees have been working for several months now to develop recommendations regarding the minimum requirements for jurisdictions to comply with middle housing provisions, the model code that will apply to cities unable to adopt their own compliant housing code, an extension-request process for cities with identified infrastructure constraints, and a reporting and monitoring process related to the Housing Production Strategies elements of HB 2003."
The main issues being discussed currently by the Rulemaking Advisory Committee are implementation flexibility for local jurisdictions, minimum lot size requirements and minimum off-street parking requirements, though a consensus has not yet been reached on discussions about these key issues.
Council President Jackie Manz asked when staff expects they will see resolutions to these issues and when they might see development based on these decisions.
"Do we have a crystal ball on that one?" she said.
Olson said the state's deadline to come up with minimum requirements is the end of this year, so he anticipates the city will know the recommendations before then.
"We aren't required to adopt anything until June 30, 2022," said Olson, adding that the city would need a good amount of time to consider which changes are needed to the code in order to comply with the bill. He doesn't expect there to be a huge flood of development when the regulations get passed.
Some City Council members were concerned with increased density in residential neighborhoods and expressed interest in maximizing flexibility with the implementation of the bill.
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