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Planning staff presented an initial idea for a proposal during a Planning Commission meeting last week.

With the city of Lake Oswego's rules expanding the allowance of middle housing in the community taking effect as of July, the local government is considering regulations for denser housing types to ensure that public infrastructure is maintained alongside development.

In a presentation to the Lake Oswego Planning Commission last week, city Senior Planner Erik Olson explained to the commission that the new rules regarding middle housing — based on state legislation — meant that housing types like triplexes, quadplexes and cottage clusters can be developed without processes like required public notices and hearings. Further, as is the case with single-family homes and duplexes, the city does not have the right to require other improvements as part of these middle housing projects.

"Currently there's nothing in the code to require mitigation or to offset the impacts of new development," Olson said.

So, the city is considering adopting requirements for middle housing developments that increase residential density (except for duplexes). Olson added that the city would create a clear and objective set of standards that would trigger the developer to make public improvements such as enhanced sidewalks, paved roads and better stormwater facilities. The developer could petition the city to argue that the improvements required aren't reasonable, however.

"We're not going to have the benefit of the pre-application process to vet it (a development proposal) and provide direction. That's why it's important that these requirements are prescribed and defined in the code," Community Development Director Scot Siegel said.

The commission did not express issues with this proposal.

"It seems like a great way to combat the problems that HB 2001 (middle housing legislation) is creating and to offset some of the stress of the development on infrastructure," Commissioner Miles Rigby said at the meeting.

Olson added that the city wants to complete this process quickly so the rules go into effect sooner rather than later, and a hearing on the matter is tentatively scheduled for October.


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