Just in time for Halloween is the City of Portland’s Residential Infill Project (RIP). This project has some treats and tricks for urban residential infill. For the full story, head to the City’s project site, otherwise, here’s a quick summary:
The project focuses on three elements associated with residential infill: Scale of Houses, Housing Types and Narrow Lots. Each of these elements is a response to concerns raised about recent infill development patterns in the City, especially in regard to compatibility, affordability and longevity of development.
The Scale of Houses, has been addressed through clarifying measurement processes and definitions, and balancing new development with existing houses.
The project would also create a variety of Housing Types, providing options for the “missing middle” ( a newly coined term that tries to address affordability through a variety of housing types). This would be accomplished in part, with the application of the Housing Opportunity Overlay zone, allowing additional housing types in most residential zones: R2.5, R5 and R7 zones. Changes to allow more housing types would provide more opportunities for cottage development on lots 10,000 square feet and greater. The recommendations would also provide incentives for preservation of existing housing.
The last element is adding flexibility on Narrow Lots. If you are considering a land division in the inner City, this would be one to pay attention to as the proposed standards may affect your project: the City is considering rezoning historically narrow lots (some R5 lots) in certain locations (noted in the Housing Opportunity Overlay zone) to R2.5. If your lot is vacant and is zoned R2.5, with 5,000 square feet of area, you’d be required to put at least two units—as a duplex or a house with an ADU. Some interesting options are to require an attached house when a house is demolished and allow a flag lot to be developed as a property line adjustment, not a land division for R2.5 zones. Parking rules would also be revised and would eliminate required parking on narrow lots.
For a bit more detail on each of these three these elements, you can head here. Otherwise, the City’s next steps are to discuss these recommendations with the City Council through briefings in early November and develop the code language (Title 33) to implement these changes. The final report can be found here.
If you have questions about what these tricks and treats may mean for your project, please get in touch!