Housing Tools and Strategies
Housing affordability and availability is a long-standing and growing problem in Eugene. There is a need for a comprehensive, coordinated approach that considers the spectrum of tools and strategies available to the City to promote more housing affordability, availability, and diversity.
At the May 2018 Work Session Opens a New Window. , Eugene City Council passed a motion to have staff implement a process to identify barriers to housing affordability, availability, and diversity, and to suggest, evaluate, and recommend possible strategies and tools to address the barriers. The process that resulted was the Housing Tools and Strategies (HTS) Working Group.
HTS Action Inventory
Staff have consolidated the actions identified with the Working Group, Better Housing Together, and other technical research into a single document, the Housing Tools and Strategies Action Inventory. This document is the first step towards implementing “a housing action plan” identified through the HTS process.
The HTS Action Inventory organizes the identified potential actions into three categories:
- In-progress actions;
- Recommended actions; and
- Not recommended actions.
The document is intended to be used as an inventory of potential actions that can affect housing affordability, availability, and diversity of type. It is a large menu of actions that can be implemented over time, many of which require additional research to understand impacts, resources required, and how best to implement to be effective. It is a work in progress—it will be modified as new ideas emerge, as actions are implemented, and actions found to be ineffective are removed from the inventory. For each action, the document provides a brief explanation and the level of support the action had from the HTS working group.
Items within the Action Inventory can be identified on the City's website with the icon above. This icon serves to provide a cohesive narrative around the HTS recommendations and their progress, identifying the items that serve to increase housing affordability, availability, and diversity of type.
Work has been initiated on the following actions identified in the HTS Action Inventory, organized into four broad strategies.
- Remove Land Use Code Barriers
- Reduce Time and Cost Burden for Development of Housing
- Increase Inventory of and Access to Affordable Units, and
- Additional Options
Projects and initiatives in each of these broad strategies are detailed below and are identified by their number in the Action Inventory. Updates will be provided as projects progress.
This strategy includes actions that require some change to the City's land use code (Chapter 9).
LU-1, LU-2: Complete land use code audit of regulatory and process barriers to housing production
This audit is a process and regulatory audit of the land use code will identify barriers to ADUs and missing middle housing. By identifying these barriers we can amend the code in the future to facilitate easier development of these housing types. On March 18th, the Planning Commission provided input on the scope and methodology to analyze the City’s comprehensive plan, land use code, and other land development documents and regulations.
The Planning Commission reviewed the draft audit on April 22nd. The presentation is available online as slides or as a webcast. The Draft Land Use Code Audit is available online, and a community survey is now available until June 1. Feedback from the Planning Commission and community will be incorporated into the final audit and will be available in June.
LU-3: Improve the Clear and Objective standards
Revision of the Clear and Objective language will allow residential development to have a clear path forward for land use applications for housing, thus saving time and saving money. This is a set of approval criteria that are intended to be objective and measurable, which is useful for straightforward developments that don't require flexibility.
The Planning Commission reviewed the draft code language for Batch #2 along with community feedback on April 16 and April 23. A City Council work session is planned for Monday, May 20 at 5:30pm in Harris Hall (125 E. 8th Ave). More info can be found here- https://www.eugene-or.gov/3947/Clear-Objective.
This strategy includes actions that reduce or remove financial and regulatory barriers.
Cost-1: Streamline/speed up the permitting process
eBuild 2.0 builds on the streamlining and benefits that exist within the current eBuild system. eBuild 1.0 was implemented in 2015 and transitioned builders from a paper-based system to a system where drawing submission, fee payments, and contractor selection are all available electronically. The public facing portion of eBuild 1.0 has significantly streamlined permitting process that the City has made available for the community. eBuild 2.0 will streamline internal processes and bring the building inspection team to the electronic system. This continues the focus on high quality, safe outcomes our community expects.
eBuild 2.0 will-
- Improve inspectors’ ability to work in the field,
- Allow City staff to easily witness, verify, and track projects, with large improvements in phased permits approvals, and
- Manage records and data, keeping all plan documents which will result in long term efficiencies and higher quantities of property information for owners
Though completion of eBuild 2.0 is still several years away, eBuild 1.0 has resulted in many improvements for the community’s large and small projects. The eBuild website is a great place to get started. To learn more about eBuild, EUG Build, will be held on May 21 from 4-7pm in the Permit and Information Center (99 W. 10th Avenue). Extended hours for permitting and staff assistance will be offered.
Cost-2: Clarify requirements for storm water treatment standards
Cost-3: Clarify requirements for erosion control standards
In April,the City of Eugene's Erosion Prevention Program updatedthe residential erosion permitting applications to provide a checklist for homebuilders.
This checklist canassist builders with having a completed application. When complete applicationsare submitted, the City can review and issue permits much more quickly, savingbuilders time in the permitting process. This checklist will save builders timein the permitting process.
The City'serosion standards are performance-based, meaning that the standards are basedon achieving certain outcomes and options are presented to achieve theseoutcomes, allowing builders to select the best solution for their budget andproject. The application has been revised to include this checklist and asample site plan in order to provide clarity for those undertaking singlefamily residential or duplex projects. The new application can be found here.
Cost-4: Streamline trench inspection process
Cost-5: Advocate to change liability requirements for condominiums
Cost-7: Review tree removal policy
Cost-8: Automatically create an account for a project with EWEB when City permit is initiated
This strategy includes actions that can lead to a larger supply of explicitly subsidized, income-qualified, Affordable housing units.
Aff-1 & Aff-2: Identify new revenue sources for affordable housing/charge a CET
On Monday, April 8, 2019 City Council approved the implementation of a Construction Excise Tax (CET). The City Council meeting is available online to view. The CET establishes a tax for people who apply to construct a commercial or residential improvement in the city. $500,000 per year of City funds from the CET will be designated to the Affordable Housing Fund.
The tax rates are as follows:
From July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020: 0.33 percent of the value of the improvement.
From July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021: 0.50 percent of the value of the improvement.
Beginning July 1, 2021: 1 percent of the value of the improvement.
The information packet at the above link contains a complete review of Eugene’s CET legislation.
Aff-3: Shift money from the General Fund to Affordable Housing
Aff-5: Reduce delays for environmental reviews of affordable housing projects
In December, Community Development's Housing Opportunity Team hired a limited duration position to focus on environmental reviews for Affordable housing and rehabilitation projects. This position will provide the capacity for a faster review process and for more reviews to take place.
Aff-6: Expand Eugene’s land banking program
Additional Options addresses the ideas that didn't fit into the three main strategies, but may be impactful. This category is a catch-all for these ideas.
Other-1: Use data to improve decisions and understand impact
Other-3: Allow more types of temporary housing
Other-4: Create a housing action plan/implementation strategy
Other-7: Protect renters and availability of rental properties
Community Involvement and Feedback Options:
- Email - HousingTools@eugene-or.gov Opens a New Window. is the project email available to send in questions and/or give feedback. This email goes to an inbox monitored by staff, not directly to Working Group members. ONLY emails sent to the Housing Tools email will be included with certainty so please make sure to use this email.