City Council to consider streamlining land division process to achieve more housing

News Article
A graphic showing the drawings for a planned subdivision (left two-thirds of image) and an aerial view of the built development (right one-third of image).
Community members can testify about the Land Division Code Update proposals in writing online via the Map App or in person or virtually at a public hearing on July 17.
Published

Another code update that would increase housing production is on its way to City Council for consideration and a public hearing. The Land Division Code Update recommendations would allow property owners of larger residential lots to divide their land into smaller parcels, which could then be developed with additional housing units.

Land divisions are the process by which large, underdeveloped properties are split into multiple new lots, accompanied by utilities and services that support the new development. Land divisions can be large subdivisions with many lots and new roads, as well as small two- or three-lot partitions that may not require any infrastructure improvements.

Background

On March 26, the Planning Commission heard public testimony on the proposed draft of the land division code updates. Most of the testimony pertained to proposed updates to the potential landslide hazard area map, which is used to determine whether additional geotechnical study is required when applying for a land division.

After considering public testimony, the Planning Commission voted unanimously on April 23 to forward the package of code changes to City Council with their recommendation.

The Recommended Draft of the Land Division Code Update is now available for review. City Council will hold a public hearing on the Recommended Draft on Wednesday, July 17 at 2:45 p.m. Community members are invited to testify on the recommended changes at the hearing or in writing.

What's in the code amendment package?

The Land Division Code Update package includes many small and technical changes as well as more substantive changes to simplify and streamline the land review process, including:

  • Creating a clear and objective set of approval standards. Approval standards for a land use review set clear expectations for application requirements, as opposed to discretionary criteria. This means less time is required to complete and review a land division request. Discretionary criteria set qualitative measures that could be met in a variety of ways, but they also introduce uncertainty and judgement to the review. This proposal allows applicants to meet either the new clear and objective standards or, when the site conditions warrant greater flexibility or the applicant is unable to meet a standard, the discretionary criteria remain an available alternative.
  • Updating the potential landslide hazard area map to reflect the most up-to-date data from the State of Oregon’s Department of Geology and Mineral Industries. Consequently, this code update removes roughly 15,000 properties from the current landslide hazard map and adds about 5,000 new properties. The map indicates areas that have the potential for landslide hazards to exist, and is only used to determine application requirements for land division proposals. The map does not necessarily signify areas that will experience an actual landslide, and therefore it is not useful for determining insurance assessments or applying to other types of development requests. Properties that are designated on this map will need to have further evaluation from a geotechnical engineer when the property owner decides to apply for a land division.
  • Recalibrating standards, thresholds and review procedures to be more responsive to the size and complexity of sites to be divided, as well as to reduce regulatory complexity and cost.

Read details of the project proposals

Tell City Council what you think

Tell the commissioners what you think about the code changes developed by staff and recommended by the Planning Commission. Community members can review the Recommended Draft and testify in writing or in person to the City Council.

Testify in writing

Community members are encouraged to testify in writing on the Recommended Draft via the Map App. Submitting testimony through the Map App is as easy as sending an email (be sure to click the “testify” button). Written testimony must be received by the time of the hearing.

Testify in writing via the Map App

Testify verbally

The hearing on Wednesday, July 17 at 2:45 p.m. will be a hybrid format with options to participate in person at 1900 SW Fourth Avenue, Room 2500, or virtually using a computer, mobile device or telephone. You must sign up to testify in advance. The Council Clerk will post the agenda with the public testimony registration links on Friday, July 12 at 9 a.m. To testify before City Council in person or virtually, visit the Council hearing event page for instructions.