The City of Portland is taking a fresh look at the rules affecting development in single-dwelling neighborhoods. These rules are found in the City’s zoning codes, which define residential development standards for different areas of the city. BPS has developed a draft proposal that would update Portland’s zoning codes relating to single-dwelling neighborhoods to best serve the needs of current and future residents while proactively planning for growth.
Zoning defines the way land can be used and developed. Zoning maps specify areas where residential, industrial, recreational and commercial activities can occur. Housing can be developed in Portland’s commercial zones, as well as within two types of residential zones: single-dwelling and multi-dwelling. Single-dwelling zones generally allow one house per lot; multi-dwelling zones allow one or more units per lot. Nearly 45 percent of Portland’s land area is zoned for single-dwelling development, while only 10 percent is zoned for multi-dwelling development. Zoning allowances also regulate the dimensional requirements for lots and buildings and the number of allowed units.
R5 is the most common single-dwelling zone, comprising almost half of Portland’s single-dwelling area. In R5 zones, one residential lot is allowed for every 5,000 square feet of site area. Exceptions allow for other uses, including home-based businesses, short term rentals and schools, as well as for additional housing units, such as one accessory dwelling unit (ADU) per house and duplexes on corner lots.
According to Portland’s new Comprehensive Plan, most new residential and business growth will be:
The new Comprehensive Plan’s Centers and Corridors growth concept is illustrated in the Urban Design Framework.
The new Comprehensive Plan finds that accommodating growth in and around Centers and Corridors will:
The goal of the Residential Infill Project is to make new infill housing in single-dwelling zones better meet the needs of current and future generations. Portland’s new Comprehensive Plan helps define the project objectives to meet this goal.
These considerations show the range of public interests and also highlight inevitable trade-offs. Some objectives work together, such as the relationship between providing diverse housing opportunities and supporting housing affordability. Other objectives conflict. The Residential Infill Project will explicitly consider the impacts of each objective and balance the final results in terms of the benfits and costs on the whole.