Following the adoption of the Residential Infill Project, the State Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) adopted rules to clarify how cities should comply with House Bill 2001, also known as the “middle housing bill.” The bill requires that:
- Medium size cities (over 10,000 population) and large cities (over 25,000 population) must allow duplexes on all lots where single homes are currently allowed.
- Larger cities must allow higher density types of middle housing (e.g., triplexes, fourplexes, attached houses and cottage clusters) on most lots.
These requirements were patterned largely on the middle housing concepts in the Residential Infill Project. But as the details of the state’s requirements got ironed out, it was clear that additional work would be required for the City of Portland to be in full compliance with HB2001.
Furthermore, in 2021 the legislature passed Senate Bill 458, or the “middle housing land division” bill. This law requires cities to allow middle housing developments to be subdivided into individual lots to streamline homeownership options. For example, a fourplex could be built on a lot and then split into four smaller lots, each containing one dwelling unit, by using an expedited land division procedure.
RIP2 also aims to address several other requirements from these two state mandates:
- Expanding middle housing options to include the low density R10 and R20 zones. Duplexes will be allowed in any location where a house would be allowed, and other types of middle housing will be allowed when the lot: a) meets minimum lot size requirements, b) is located out of natural resource or land hazard areas and c) has sufficient infrastructure available.
- Introducing cottage clusters to the single dwelling zones (R2.5 through R10). These clusters provide smaller detached units that share a common outdoor area rather than, or in addition to, individual yard space.
- Allowing attached houses at the same densities as fourplexes (R2.5 through R20). This, along with the “middle housing land division” bill, means that the City’s codes for land divisions will also need to be significantly updated.
Project staff are currently meeting with neighborhood associations and district coalitions as well as community-based organizations before publishing the proposed draft in late October. RIP2 must be completed by July 1, 2022, to meet the state compliance deadline. If the City fails to meet the deadline, it must use the state’s model development code, which does not synch well with Portland’s existing zoning regulations.
More information is available on the project website, and soon an interactive mapping tool will allow viewers to explore how these changes affect specific properties within the City and County pocket areas.