Council: Residential density increase briefing set for Wednesday
The City Council will be briefed on the current version of a plan to increase density in single-family neighborhoods on Wednesday, Dec. 11.
Public testimony will not be taken on the Residential Infill Plan forwarded to the council for approval by the Planning and Sustainability Commission at the time. RIP — as the plan is commonly called — would allow smaller multifamily projects, up to fourplexes, to be built on practically every lot in all existing single-family zones.
Since the plan was referred to the council last year, the 2019 Oregon Legislature passed two bills — HB 2001 and SB 534 — with similar requirements. Bureau staff have determined the current plan does not have to go back to the commission, except for small future adjustments.
RIP is controversial. It is intended to encourage the construction of so-called missing middle housing. Supporters say it will increase residential units and lower home costs. Opponents argue it will change the character of existing neighborhoods without guarenteeing many residents can afford them.
The plan is one of three current proposals related to residential density increases. Another, the Better Housing by Design project, is intended to encourage the construction and improve the design of more housing in multifamily zones, including affordable units. It is scheduled to adopted after the RIP briefing. Provisions include incentives for additional density — including size bonuses for affordable units — and requirements for more open spaces.
The third, the Anti-Displacement Action Plan, is still being developed at the direction of the council to address the higher housing costs that are predicted to result from the density increases, commonly called gentrification. The emerging strategy is partly in response to community pushback over former longtime residents who have been forced to move out of their neighborhoods because of previous city-supported redevelopment projects. The bureau will ask the council to approve a framework for involving the community in co-creating the final plan, including the appointment of a new task force.
Together, the three proposals are called the Housing Opportunities Initiative.
Public testimony on RIP will be allowed when the council begins holding hearings on it in the future.
The briefing will begin at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12. Anyone can attend the session at the Council Chambers in City Hall. It also will be shown live on community TV and on the city's website, where it also can be watched later.
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