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Regulatory improvements to Portland’s zoning code head to City Council

News Article
Planning Commission recommends the RICAP 10 proposal with two amendments; Portlanders can testify to City Council at a public hearing in May.

On Tuesday, March 26, the Planning Commission voted to recommend that City Council adopt the Regulatory Improvement Code Amendment Project 10 (RICAP 10) Proposed Draft, along with two code amendments. The vote follows a public hearing on the proposal on February 27 and a work session on March 9. 

RICAP 10 is a zoning code maintenance project to make it easier to understand and implement Portland’s zoning code. While this is the tenth such project to occur since 2002, it comes up after a five-year pause in the program due to funding constraints. 

“I’m thrilled the City is doing RICAP’s again,” said Commissioner Spevak as he voted to recommend the package to City Council. “I think housecleaning is a good practice.”

What’s in the proposal?

The RICAP 10 Proposed Draft contains the most recent in an ongoing series of updates and improvements to Portland’s land use regulations. 

RICAP 10 considers more than 80 items for possible regulatory improvement, grouped into three themes: housing production, economic development, and regulatory reduction.

The dozens of items are divided into subgroups to align with those three themes:

  • Housing production
    • Ground floor and ground floor façades
    • Design Overlay zone 
    • Historic resources
  • Economic development
    • Central City
    • Home occupations
    • Temporary activities
  • Regulatory reduction
    • State/local law compliance
    • Land use review process
    • Miscellaneous regulatory cleanup

Planning Commission Amendments

The Recommended Draft headed to City Council contains two amendments from the Planning Commission. The first amendment is a response to testimony regarding an item to clarify when a conditional use review (a discretionary land use review) is required on a site that contains both an allowed use and an existing conditional use. This amendment adds further clarity about when a new conditional use review is triggered. 

The second amendment narrows the applicability of a proposed exception to the restrictions for river frontage sites uses in the River Industrial ‘i' overlay zone. Currently, there is a requirement on properties in the ‘i' zone fronting the river for new development to be river-dependent or river-related. The original amendment added an exception for some properties owned by a public agency. The Planning Commission amendment narrows that exception to only apply to one publicly owned property.

Next steps

With the Planning Commission’s recommendation, the proposal heads to City Council for a public hearing likely to be held in late May. Portlanders will be able to testify on the Recommended Draft at that time or in writing via the Map App.

Learn more