City Council splits on allowing up to six units on single-family lots
The City Council split on allowing up to six housing units in existing single-family neighborhoods on Wednesday.
The council was divided 2-to-2 on the proposed amendment to the Residential Infill Plan, which would currently allow up to four units on most lots. The proposed Deeper Affordability Bonus Amendment would allow up to six units if half of them were affordable to households earning 60% or less of the area median family income.
The amendment has been proposed by affordable housing developer, including Habitat for Humanity. It was strongly supported by Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Chloe Eudlay during the Feb. 12 work session.
But the amendment was opposed by commissioners Amanda Fritz and Jo Ann Hardesty. Fritz was concerned the accompanying size bonus would allow the construction of oversized apartment buildings in single-family neighborhoods. Hardesty said RIP — as the plan is commonly called — was never intended to create subsidized affordable housing and would unrealistically raise expectation about what it will accomplish.
Planners with the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, which is staffing the project, said they would return with more information on how the amendment would be used at the next meeting.
The council also reviewed concepts for 12 other amendments proposed by the public during the work session. They ranged from limiting the number of units that can be built on streets that are not fully improved to requiring that anti-displacement policies be approved before the council takes a final vote on RIP.
The council rejected the amendment calling for the anti-displacement policies to be adopted first, saying that RIP will reduce displacement compared to current what will occur under current practices, except in three neighborhoods, which will not see much of an increase.
The council scheduled a public hearing on all amendments moving forward for 2 p.m. on March 12. The amendment concepts are posted the document section of the bureau's web page on RIP. Letters, emails and the public comments will be accepted through March 12.
The council has a vacancy because Commissioner Nick Fish died from cancer on Jan. 2. A special election to choose a replacement is scheduled at the May 19 primary election.
You can find more information about RIP, including the proposed amendments, here.
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