Neighbors concerned over possible changes to Portland housing co - KPTV - FOX 12

Neighbors concerned over possible changes to Portland housing code

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Builders in Portland may be facing new regulations that will force them to build new homes smaller but may open up locations for multi-unit houses.(KPTV) Builders in Portland may be facing new regulations that will force them to build new homes smaller but may open up locations for multi-unit houses.(KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Looking for long-term solutions to its housing crunch, the city of Portland is considering changes to its housing code in an attempt to accommodate the continued influx of families to the area.

According to the city's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, forecasts predict more than 100,000 families will move to Portland over the next 20 years.

Proposed updates to the city's housing code would put in a system of controls to limit the size of new homes, and also allow developers to build duplexes within existing neighborhoods, and triplexes on corners.

"For those duplex and triplex units, we will have additional design standards that get at trim, form, things that kind of keep those boxes, those developments, more in line with what an existing single house would look like," Morgan Tracy, Project Manager with the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, said.

The proposed size restrictions, and mandatory setbacks from sidewalks are concerning to local developer Randy Sebastian.

"For the most part, it's just going to add cost," he said. "We have a housing affordability issue in Portland. It's going to just add cost."

Sebastian said many families moving to Portland want to live in larger, newer homes.

The city's proposal would reduce the maximum size of a home on a 5,000 square foot lot from 6,750 square feet to 2,500 square feet.

"We do a really good job of designing homes that fit into the neighborhood, and this is just another layer of approvals and architectural review and control that would add delays and add cost," said Sebastian.

Neighbors, meanwhile, have voiced concerns about an increase in demolitions, and worry the plan doesn't do enough to protect existing neighborhoods.

"If you look carefully at the details of this proposal, there was no attempt to respect neighborhood character," Robin Harmon said at a recent public meeting.

The City Council is tentatively scheduled to vote on the proposed changes to the housing code in December.

The new rules are expected to be put into place by 2018.

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