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Meeting held for request for reduction of lot width and R-3 annexations in the city

Newberg government has been approached by a local developer about the possibility of adopting two significant amendments to its development code.

Newberg contractor Del Boca Vista is requesting that the city reduce the required width of parcels zoned low- and medium-density (R-1 and R-2) from 50 feet to 35 feet for R-1 land and from 30 feet to 25 feet in R-2 land.

The city will also consider amending the text of the city's comprehensive plan and development code to require large residential annexations include some R-3 (high-density) multifamily land.

Del Boca Vista first requested the narrowing of street frontage at a Jan. 16 City Council meeting and the council approved sending the question to the planning commission for a public hearing.

Understanding what is referred to as "building width line" requires some explanation: the measurement is from where one would think the front of a proposed building will be located on a narrow, unusually-shaped lot and measured at that point across the lot to ensure the size meets city code for clearance between lots.

The required lot size would remain the same in square footage, but as a result of narrower widths now allowed by the city, the lot becomes deeper and buildings are closer together. In October 2010, lot sizes for R-1 were reduced from 7,500 square feet to 5,000 square feet; lot sizes in R-2 zones were reduced from 5,000 square feet to 3,000 square feet.

Del Boca Vista's logic is that a reduction of the lot sizes of 30 percent should be followed by a decrease in the building line width.

The company says the reduction will allow developers to build more affordable housing as it will make better use of the land by constructing more units in a smaller space, therefore reducing the cost to buyers.

The planning commission will also look at amending the city's comp plan and development code to require that large annexations of land include R-3 (high density) land. The proposal says, "Where large residentially designated parcels are to be annexed, the city shall apply a mixture of zoning to include some R-3 zoned lands, consistent with the policy of distributing affordable housing throughout the community."

The public hearing is set for 7 p.m. March 8 in the Public Safety Building, 401 E. Third St. Written testimony must be submitted to the Community Development Department office by noon March 5.

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