In response to Portland’s housing crisis, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability has released a set of zoning code amendments that provide regulatory relief for developers and builders of apartments and mixed-use development to help increase housing production.
The Planning Commission will consider the Housing Regulatory Relief Project proposals at a hearing on Tue., Oct. 24 at 5 p.m. Prior to the hearing, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability staff will brief commissioners on the proposals on Tue., Sept. 26.
Adjusting the zoning code to meet Portland’s housing needs
The Housing Regulatory Relief Project addresses many of the zoning code issues identified in a housing production survey conducted by the Bureau of Development Services in early 2023. The project aims to help increase housing production by creating both temporary waivers and permanent changes to zoning regulations.
This project addresses requirements for bike parking, ground floor active use and height, nonconforming upgrades, bird-safe glazing, eco-roofs, façade articulation, neighborhood contact, and onsite loading spaces.
In addition, staff with the bureaus of Planning and Sustainability and Development Services met to discuss other zoning issues that may benefit housing production if they were temporarily paused. These include some development standards triggered by “major remodels," design exemptions for security gates and lighting, Central City masterplan amendments, Design Review process types, land use approval criteria related to on-street parking, and expiration dates for land use approvals.
The Housing Regulatory Relief Proposed Draft includes zoning code amendments that temporarily waive or reduce some zoning code standards, along with more permanent amendments that clarify the zoning regulations. The proposed temporary waivers and reductions would last five years and – unless otherwise stated – apply to development that includes residential units. These amendments address several areas in the zoning code, including:
- Development and design standards that affect ground floor active uses, bicycle parking and loading standards, nonconforming upgrades, and design exemptions for security gates.
- Central City standards for ground floors, ecoroofs and bird-safe glazing.
- Review processes for residential projects, including neighborhood contact requirements and design review.
To better understand some of the constraints on the construction of needed housing units in Portland, the City surveyed development professionals to identify changes that could speed up housing production.
Roughly 3,100 people received the survey, including architects, attorneys, design professionals, engineers, and planning consultants; for-profit and nonprofit developers, business associations, private sector permitting services, property owners, and City staff.
Participants were asked to rank the top five new housing development requirements they think should be suspended or modified to encourage new housing development. The City received 611 responses; from those about a dozen candidates for suspension or modification arose.
The Housing Regulatory Relief Project proposals reflect this feedback.
Tell the Planning Commission what you think
Community members are invited to review the Housing Regulatory Relief Proposed Draft and testify in writing or in person to the Planning Commission, which will consider public testimony before forwarding their recommendation to City Council.
The public hearing on Tue, Oct. 24 at 5 p.m.will be a hybrid format, with options to participate either in person or virtually using a computer, mobile device or telephone. You must sign up to testify in advance.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the hearing. The deadline to sign up for the hearing is Mon., Oct. 23 at 5 p.m. Individuals have three minutes to testify, unless stated otherwise at the hearing.
Submit written testimony
We strongly encourage electronic written testimony. Written testimony must be received by the end of the hearing on Oct. 24 and must include your name and address.
Use the Map App
Testifying in the Map App is as easy as sending an email.
Portland Planning Commission
Housing Regulatory Relief Testimony
1810 SW 5th Ave, Suite 710
Portland, OR 97201
What happens next?
After the public hearing, the Planning Commission will consider all written and oral testimony on this proposal and vote on the proposals in November. The Planning Commission will then forward their recommendation to City Council for consideration and additional public review and comment. A City Council hearing date is yet to be determined.