City Council makes final adjustments to new Historic Resource Code

News Article
The project comment period is now closed; City Council will cast final votes in January.

On December 15, the Portland City Council considered public testimony on a list of potential amendments to the Historic Resources Code Project. The amendments were drafted in response to public comments submitted to the City Council earlier this fall regarding the Recommended Draft of the Historic Resources Code Project. Amendment topics ranged from the review process for new affordable housing developments to the required membership categories for service on the Historic Landmarks Commission. After hearing testimony on the potential amendments, City Council closed the project record and voted on each of the potential amendments.

The City Council voted to support the following changes to the Recommended Draft Historic Resources Code Project:

  1. Allow 10’ of bonus height for certain development proposals in Historic and Conservation Districts in the CM2 zone.
  2. Allow certain affordable housing proposals subject to historic resource review to be processed through a Type II or Type Ix procedure following a required design advice request meeting.
  3. Eliminate an existing demolition review approval criterion related to “reasonable economic use” and amend the remaining demolition review approval criteria to ensure underrepresented histories and economic consequences to owners are considered by the decision-maker.
  4. Allow permits for interior alterations to be issued during 120-day delay.
  5. Refine the membership categories for the 7-member Historic Landmarks Commission.
  6. Minor and technical amendments requested by City staff.

Two potential amendments did not receive City Council support. Those amendments would have 1) changed the process for designating and removing local Historic and Conservation District status and 2) amended the land use procedure types for alterations and new construction in the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District. Because those amendments failed, they will not be included in the final HRCP package.

In early January, City staff will publish revised Recommended Draft documents incorporating the amendments that were approved by the City Council on December 15. The City Council will then vote on the As-Amended Recommended Draft documents in January. The Zoning Code changes are expected to become effective March 1, 2022.