The Design Overlay Zone Amendments Project passes milestone

News Article
Both the Planning and Sustainability Commission and the Design Commission recommend updates to the City’s design guidelines, zoning code and map to City Council; future public hearing date to be determined.

Over the past seven months, both the Planning and Sustainability Commission and the Design Commission reviewed and deliberated over staff proposals for the Design Overlay Zone Amendments Project (DOZA). The PSC reviewed the zoning code and map, while the Design Commission focused on the new Citywide Design Guidelines.  

After staff incorporated nearly 300 requests for amendments, each Commission was ready to put their stamp of approval on the project. The DOZA Project received unanimous approvals from the PSC on July 14 and the Design Commission on June 18, both of which are charged with making a recommendation to the Portland City Council.  

The commissions expressed their appreciation for the collaborative effort of staff, architects, designers, developers, community members and others, and noted that combined commission small working groups resulted in a better project. These efforts culminated in a revised design overlay zone that:  

  • Prioritizes people in the design of future development. 

  • Reduces cost and time in applications. 

  • Promotes an anti-racist built environment in discretionary reviews. 

  • Incorporates a clear and flexible set of standards.  

Under these new rules, when a development project goes through discretionary design review or meets the objective design standards, each new process and tool aims to produce an outcome that achieves the goals of the City’s Comprehensive Plan.  

BPS staff is now tasked with incorporating this combined work into a Recommended Draft and drafting an ordinance to present to City Council. The City Council hearing dates will likely take place in the new year (2021).


Phil Nameny

City Planner II, Planning and Sustainability