Portland’s New Home Proposal

With the mounting issues that come with population growth and rising home prices, major concerns in terms of availability, affordability and aesthetic unease are intensifying. The City of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability created a Residential Infill Advisory Committee has been meeting to put together a solution.  The Residential Infill Advisory Committee is made up of neighbors, builders, and affordable housing advocates. They plan to set new restrictions to meet the goal of adjusting the single-dwelling zoning rules to meet the evolving needs of the current and future residents.

They’re proposal revolves around the following changes and additions to building regulations:

  1. Change the overall scale of houses. This would happen by first, implementing size limitations, second, lowering the height of rooflines and finally by enforcing more consistent setbacks. Currently the code maximum for house size 6,750SF while older homes are typically around only 1,500 SF. The proposed maximum would be 2,500 SF. The height of rooflines would be the same (30 FT), but the measurement method would be revised with the starting point being from the lowest point most likely being the sidewalk. If the house has a flat roof, the house height would be less than 30 FT as these homes can feel taller than a home with a traditional roof at the same height. New houses will also need to reduce or increase their planned setback to remain consistent with its neighbors.
  1. Increase the mix of housing types. This would be done by adding more ADU’s, Duplexes and Triplexes within a neighborhood and allow cottage clusters on lots with over 10k SF. These would need to be blended into a single-family home community. Right now, these types of housing in the City are only allowed to be built/converted on corner lots, the proposal would allow them to build and renovate on any lot type.
  1. Allow new building on historically narrow lots. More building would be allowed on historically narrow lots and wouldn’t require parking to get rid of front loading garages for detached homes. This would induce more street or alley parking.

This draft and proposal is up for public input from June to August this year.  The board will then review feedback in September, revise the proposal in October, get the City Council recommendation in November and finally reveal the final draft of proposed rules next Spring that we can hopefully adapt!