Code changes to increase residential development head to Planning Commission

News Article
Community members can testify on the Land Division Code Update Proposed Draft in writing via the Map App or at a public hearing on Tuesday, March 26 at 5 p.m.

As part of the City of Portland’s effort to increase new housing production, the Land Division Code Update Project will streamline the process of applying for a residential land division. The Proposed Draft includes three major proposals, along with a number of minor corrections and clarifications to the City’s land division regulations. The last time these rules were updated was 22 years ago.

View the Proposed Draft:

The Planning Commission will consider the Land Division Code Update Proposed Draft at a public hearing on Tuesday, March 26 at 5 p.m. Prior to the hearing, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability staff will brief commissioners on the proposals.

Community members are invited to review the Proposed Draft and testify to the Planning Commission.

Project goals

Land divisions help create more housing opportunities in areas where development is limited to a number of dwellings per lot, regardless of how large the lot is. As more residential land in the city is developed, very large dividable parcels are increasingly rare. But some infill sites still present opportunities to create more homes through smaller land divisions.

By dividing and creating additional separate lots, land divisions increase the total number of homes that can be built in Portland. This project will streamline the path for land divisions, especially for smaller, less complex sites.

Project proposals

In addition to many technical clarifications and corrections, the Land Division Code Update Project proposes three changes:

  1. Create a set of clear and objective approval standards for land divisions as an alternative to discretionary criteria. This project will amend the City’s regulations to include “clear and objective standards” for residential land divisions. These are well-defined requirements used to review a land division without subjective judgment. Because these standards are clearer and more straightforward, they can also streamline the applicant’s site design and the City’s review process.
  1. Update the city’s potential landslide hazard area map. The potential landslide hazard map shows areas with a higher risk of landslides due to steeper slopes and geology. If someone wants to subdivide a property in a landslide area, they must provide a study that looks at the hazards on the site in greater detail.

    Since Portland’s landslide hazard map was adopted in 2002, more accurate and detailed information is available to identify potential landslide risks. As part of this project, the landslide hazard map will be updated to better identify areas with higher landslide risk. A comparison of the current map and the proposed map is viewable on the project Map App.
  1. Calibrate land division standards, thresholds and review procedures. This project also calibrates land division requirements to better reflect the size and complexity of potential land division sites. Smaller and more straightforward applications will be subject to either fewer requirements, a less onerous process, or reduced submittal requirements.

Have your say

Community members are invited to review the amendments in the Land Division Code Update Proposed Draft and testify to the Planning Commission in writing via the Map App or verbally during the hearing. The hearing will be a hybrid format, with options to participate either in person or virtually using a computer, mobile device, or telephone.

Testify at Planning Commission

View the Planning Commission meeting to register to testify verbally.

You must sign up in advance to testify verbally. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the hearing. The deadline to sign up for verbal testimony is Monday, March 25 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 and must include your name and address. Testifying via the Map App is as easy as sending an email.

Submit testimony via the Map App

Written testimony can also be submitted by U.S. mail to:

Portland Planning Commission
Land Division Code Update testimony
1810 SW 5th Ave, Suite 710
Portland, OR 97201

What happens next?

After the hearing on March 26, the Planning Commission will discuss any potential changes to the Proposed Draft at a subsequent meeting, followed by making their final recommendation to City Council.