At a virtual public hearing before City Council on April 27, community members shared their thoughts and suggestions on the proposed zoning code changes in the RIP2 Recommended Draft. In response to that public testimony, several City Council members proposed amendments to the Recommended Draft. These amendments will be discussed and voted on at a follow-up hearing scheduled for May 19 at 2 p.m.
The goal of the Residential Infill Project “series” (RIP1 and RIP2) is to allow more “middle housing” in Portland’s residential neighborhoods, giving more people the opportunity to live, work, play, go to school and enjoy the amenities of Portland’s great neighborhoods.
Proposed amendment package
The amendment package includes three substantive amendments and a group of 10 technical amendments. The technical amendments are packaged as Amendment #1 and will clarify recommendations or correct previous errors, including:
- How floor area and building coverage requirements are applied to attached house projects.
- How floor area ratios (FAR) are applied on split-zoned planned development sites.
- Clarification that the minimum dwelling unit standard doesn’t apply to nonresidential development, like churches or schools.
Amendment #2 would increase the FAR for four or more dwelling units. Currently, the FAR limits for triplexes and fourplexes in single-dwelling zones is the same. In order to provide a comparative advantage for building larger fourplex units, additional FAR beyond what is allowed for triplexes is proposed.
Amendment #3 would remove the proposed front lot line requirement that would have restricted development on landlocked lots. This proposed change was intended to simplify the standards for determining when a primary structure is allowed on a lot; however, the change is inconsistent with current practice and would remove lots (when owned in common with other abutting lots) from being eligible for development. This amendment removes those proposed changes.
Amendment #4 proposes added flexibility for the Deeper Affordability Bonus. The current standards for projects that include half of the units at prices affordable to households earning 60% MFI (80% MFI for ownership) allow for two additional units (six total), a higher FAR (1.2 total), and extra height (35 ft maximum). These standards are modeled on examples of recently built sixplexes and adhere to single-dwelling zone building coverage and setback limits.
Testifiers wanted to facilitate a different building typology, where units would be arranged side by side as opposed to “stacked.” This townhouse-style development provides each resident their own front door on the first floor and adheres to less costly residential building code standards.
Amendment #4 would maintain the option to create taller, smaller footprint buildings originally envisioned in RIP1. However, it adds an alternative for shorter, broader buildings with increased building coverage (60%) and lower height limits (25 ft). Due to the increased building coverage allowance, the outdoor area requirements also had to be modified to allow individual smaller areas (48 sq ft) as opposed to a single larger 250-sq-ft area.
April 29 hearing testimony summary
The above amendments were proposed by City Council in response to the testimony presented at a public hearing on April 29, at which 53 community members testified on the proposed zoning code changes in the RIP2 Recommended Draft. Another 72 pieces of written testimony were submitted to Council in writing via the Map App. You can watch a video of the hearing and/or read the written testimony.
The topic most mentioned in both written and oral testimony related to a set of proposals by two housing advocacy groups: Portland: Neighbors Welcome (P:NW) and the Build Small Coalition (BSC). Their proposals would allow additional flexibility to promote construction of units with three or more bedrooms or units that are more age friendly and accessible.
Council also heard from owners of “land-locked” parcels without street frontage, who were concerned that rules requiring lots to have a street front lot line would pose an obstacle to development of their parcels. Other testifiers had concerns that the expected increase in housing units as a result of RIP2 would have negative impacts on Portland’s tree canopy. Still others were concerned that the ‘z’ overlay does not sufficiently account for wildfire risk.
Testify on the amendments
Portlanders can testify to City Council in writing or in person.
1. Testify in writing
We strongly encourage electronic written testimony. Written testimony must be received by the time of the hearing (but ideally the day before) and must include your name and address.
Through the Map App
Testifying in the Map App is as easy as sending an email and easier than U.S. Mail.
Via U.S. Mail
Send mail to:
1221 SW 4th Ave, Room 130
Portland, OR 97204
2. Testify at City Council
On May 19 at 2 p.m., City Council will hold a public hearing on the potential amendments to the Residential Infill Project – Part 2. The hearing will be a hybrid meeting, and community members may testify in person, by phone or video conference. Visit the Council event page to learn more about how to sign up to testify.
City Council will hold a second hearing on May 19 to hear testimony on potential amendments to the RIP2 proposal. A draft of those amendments has been posted on the project website. Additional changes not included in the draft amendments could also be proposed by City Council on May 19. Written testimony may be submitted through the Map App or by sending a letter to the Council Clerk before the close of the hearing on May 19.
Council will vote on any amendments that receive a second motion from their colleagues, and the amendments that pass will be incorporated into the amended RIP2 package for a final vote on June 1.
- May 19 at 2 p.m.: Public hearing on Council amendments
- June 1 at 9:45 a.m.: Council vote on RIP2 package
Please visit the Residential Infill Project - Part 2 website for additional information.