When the City reviews development projects today, Portland’s Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) can require improvements to substandard rights-of-way (ROW) within a site frontage. These frontage improvements create new impervious area in the ROW that can trigger the City’s Stormwater Management Manual (SWMM), implemented by Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services (BES), which in turn can increase the overall size of the ROW improvements. If the existing ROW is not wide enough to accommodate construction of these improvements, the City can require the dedication of private property to public ROW as a condition of the review. This can include area needed for stormwater management facilities, e.g. an additional 4’ to accommodate an 8’ stormwater planter (versus a 4’ wide planting strip).
In 2016, Portland’s City Council adopted the Local Transportation Infrastructure Charge (LTIC) program, creating the requirement for some developments to pay a one-time charge instead of optionally constructing standard ROW improvements per Portland City Code 17.88.020. Projects that meet qualifying criteria established by PBOT’s LTIC rule (TRN-1.26) and pay the LTIC are exempt from frontage improvement construction, but “All other requirements of PCC Title 17, including those pertaining to dedications… remain unchanged”. PBOT’s practice is to continue requiring property dedications with LTIC payment to accommodate future ROW construction based on their adopted plans and standards, but neither TRN-1.26 nor BES rules addressed whether area needed for future stormwater management should continue to be dedicated as well. In response to this question, BES examined dedications for stormwater when LTIC is paid.
The result of that examination is that effective September 1, 2020, BES will not expect or require a property owner who is paying the LTIC to dedicate property for the purpose of accommodating future stormwater management facilities in the LTIC-eligible frontage(s), unless or until BES has established criteria or plans that demonstrate a need for the dedication. This change applies to all development projects that have not yet recorded their dedication. If a development site has multiple frontages and is eligible to pay LTIC for some but not others, dedication on the frontage(s) for which the LTIC is not paid may still be needed to accommodate stormwater management facilities triggered by ROW improvements.
BES will monitor implementation of this change and may revise accordingly if our mission to protect public health and the environment is hindered by ceding these dedications, or in response to new criteria or plans that provide predictive decision-making tools related to future stormwater management needs within individual frontages. Note that the scope of this change is limited to dedications for new SWMM facilities in the ROW only and should not be interpreted to apply to dedications generally.
Questions about this change can be directed to Stephen Himes, interim BES Systems Development Division Manager: 503-823-7875 or firstname.lastname@example.org.