Sherwood council objects to bill it says could threaten older, affordable housing
While the Oregon Legislature holds hearings on a bill that could change how cities zone their single-family residences in order to provide for housing shortages throughout the state, the City of Sherwood has given the proposal a thumbs down.
On Tuesday, the Sherwood City Council unanimously passed a resolution opposing the adoption of House Bill 2001.
The bill, introduced by Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, in part allows for the construction of duplexes, triplexes, four-plexes and cottage clusters on parcels of land previously zone for single-family homes.
A portion of Sherwood's resolution, which passed 7-0, states a concern that "… if passed, will result in the tear-down of existing homes and the obliteration of older neighborhoods that tend to provide more affordable housing."
It further states concerns that it would negate any historical planning done in communities as well as master plans, which are based on specific land-use assumptions.
On Friday, Sherwood Mayor Keith Mays called the bill a "heavy-handed" approach to address housing issues, saying that each city is different and should be able to approach housing issues differently.
Mays said that Sherwood's concern too is that areas of the city that were once affordable could suddenly prove unaffordable if something like a four-plex was suddenly constructed to replace a single-family home in an older, affordable neighborhood.
In addition, he said that Sherwood has one of the highest densities of any city in Oregon today.
Mays said he believes cities could be given tools, assistance and targets for housing but doesn't believe a "one size fits all" approach or mandates are the way to go.
On Feb. 11, Sherwood Councilor Tim Rosener traveled to Salem to testify against the bill. Rosener, who along with the League of Oregon Cities, has been working on the issue for some time, said those in attendance were about 50/50 split on support/opposition to the bill.
Rosener said he called attention to negative effects on area schools while others spoke about challenges related to infrastructure. He called the measure a complex issue with each community having unique needs. He also urged that if the bill moves forward that a task force be put together to see what tools communities need to make it work.
Still, Rosener said Kotek seems willing to entertain amendments to the bill and other hearings are expected.
"I think everyone agrees we've got a (housing) problem we've got to solve," said Rosener, adding he'd like to see a more holistic approach used to find a solution.