Housing Tools and Strategies
In July, the Housing Tools and Strategies team provided an update to City Council on progress of the items within the Action Inventory. The update includes a detailed visual providing a broad overview of project milestones and anticipated timelines. For better legibility, download the visual here.
Both completed and in-progress items are described in detail in the tabbed sections below.
This strategy includes actions that require some change to the City's land use code (Chapter 9).
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 audit was completed in June. To see the completed audit and more details, visit the project website.
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.
City Council gave the green light to advance proposed code amendments to the formal adoption process at the May 20 work session. The draft language provides the basic framework for code amendments that will implement the approved concepts for key issues identified at the beginning of the project, which range from simple maintenance fixes to addressing more complex items like tree preservation and geotechnical requirements. Refinements to the language are likely as the formal adoption process will include opportunities for community input at public hearings. We anticipate holding the Planning Commission public hearing this fall, followed by the City Council meeting this winter. The process will take approximately six to nine months before amendments are adopted. Stay tuned to the project website for upcoming meetings.
Align the zoning map with the Comprehensive Plan map
At the March 2019 Work Session for HTS, staff proposed a Next Step item to complete and adopt the Comprehensive Plan Map, with parcel-specific data. Since March, as an initial step staff has been working to initiate a contract with the Lane Council of Governments (LCOG) to develop a technical methodology to digitize the Metro Plan diagram, which is the current comprehensive plan map, and clarify locations of plan designation boundaries for City staff review that will inform the development of the parcel-specific map. This step with LCOG will take approximately 3 months. City staff will use this new spatial dataset to better understand the scope of the parcel-specific comprehensive plan map project and to inform a draft Project Charter and draft Public Involvement Plan that will be presented for review and input to the Planning Commission and City Council. This entire process will take approximately 18 months.
Creating a parcel-specific comprehensive plan map is a first step that will allow for future alignment of the Zoning map with the Comprehensive Plan map, which will clarify citywide policies about where housing is planned and reduce uncertainty about allowed housing types throughout Eugene. An aligned zoning and comprehensive plan map provides guidance and lays a foundation that will make it simpler to implement many other actions identified in the HTS Action Inventory.
At the March 2019 Work Session, staff also proposed a Next Step item to complete and adopt the Housing chapter of the Comprehensive Plan. Due to Planning staff changes and project needs, staff will be prioritizing more time to work on the River Road Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan throughout the summer. In the fall, staff will focus on developing initial drafts for all remaining Envision Eugene Comprehensive Plan chapters. Since the chapters are interrelated, they will be reviewed and discussed as a whole instead of in pieces. This will be a more efficient use of people’s time and allow for more robust conversations on the connections between policies. The initial draft comprehensive plan chapters will be brought through the process outlined in the approved Public Involvement Plan. Please see the updated draft timeline for more details.
Completing and adopting the parcel-specific Comprehensive Plan map and the Housing chapter of the Comprehensive Plan will reduce the need for some administrative processes, which will reduce costs for building housing and provide guidance for future implementation.
River Road-Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan
In the River Road-Santa Clara neighborhood planning process, the community identified a need for more middle types of housing. A large portion of the land directly adjacent to the River Road corridor is zoned R-1, Low Density Residential. Conceptual ways to change the zoning and/or code to allow more housing types along and near River Road are currently being prepared by the project staff and consultant team. There will be outreach at community events and through an online survey in August and September to gather public input on the zoning and code concepts. This input will inform proposed draft zoning and code changes that will implement policies in the draft neighborhood plan.
Once assembled into a complete draft, the neighborhood plan and any proposed zone or code changes will go through a public land use process with community, Planning Commission, and City Council/Board of Commissioners meetings leading up to plan adoption and implementation. For more information, please visit the project web page at www.RiverRoad-SantaClaraPlan.org.
Future Implementation: State Legislation- HB 2001
The 2019 Oregon legislature passed legislation that directly affects the HTS initiative. On Sunday, June 30, 2019 the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 2001 with a 17-9 vote. The bill seeks to address rising housing costs and limited supply. HB 2001 requires cities with populations greater than 25,000 to allow duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, “cottage clusters,” and townhomes in lands zoned for single-family dwellings. The bill also requires cities with populations greater than 10,000 to allow duplexes in lands zoned as single-family. The new legislation will apply to Eugene.
Passage of the bill will affect several planning efforts underway in Eugene, including the ADU remand, the code audit, and the River Road Santa Clara neighborhood plan/corridor study, to name a few. Staff will be examining the final text of the bill and discussing impacts over the next few weeks and will keep you informed as our understanding evolves.
This strategy includes actions that reduce or remove financial and regulatory barriers.
Clarify requirements for erosion control standards
In April, the City of Eugene's Erosion Prevention Program updated the residential erosion permitting applications to provide a checklist for home builders.
This checklist can assist builders with having a completed application. When complete applications are submitted, the City can review and issue permits much more quickly, saving builders time in the permitting process. This checklist will save builders time in the permitting process.
The City's erosion standards are performance-based, meaning that the standards are based on achieving certain outcomes and options are presented to achieve these outcomes, allowing builders to select the best solution for their budget and project. The application has been revised to include this checklist and a sample site plan in order to provide clarity for those undertaking single family residential or duplex projects. The new application can be found here.
Offer project and program assistance–Development Investment Group (DIG)
The HTS Working Group identified a recommendation that the City offer project and program assistance for those undertaking housing developments. The process is complex and having materials and staff to engage with can positively impact the outcome of a project, resulting in an increase of housing affordability, availability and diversity of type.
As a result, the City created the Development Investment Group (DIG). DIG is a new initiative to help make development projects less complex. DIG seeks to facilitate development and good design in Eugene with the outcome of building stronger relationships with the development community, making sure project teams are supported through each stage of a project, and clarifying the complex processes related to development in Eugene. DIG engages with small backyard projects and large multi-story developments to offer preliminary design, initial land use feasibility, site/building selection, navigation of multiple land and building permit processes, completion of financing packages, business support, and connections with the community.
The City implemented a planned permit rate increase on July 1, 2019. The new fees are about a 3% increase over last year’s fees and cover annual inflation adjustments and support needed staffing and proposed service level improvements such as the full build-out of eBuild 2.0, the City’s digital permit review system.
The permit rate increase will not apply to housing permits that are adding one or more dwelling units. These permits will receive a 3% offset to effectively hold them harmless from the increase to support Eugene’s goals for housing affordability in our community. This offset will last for two years. This item is not on the HTS Action Inventory, but staff identified it as a tool to help minimize costs for housing. Visit this website for more information on building permit fees.
Streamline 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.
Create an account for a project with EWEB when City permit is initiated
Syncing with EWEB’s customer service system proves to be a large undertaking. To move towards a solution with this recommendation, staff investigated the permit submission process and steps eBuild customers need to take once their building permits have been submitted and accepted. We are working to create a checklist that identifies next steps for customers upon having an accepted permit. This checklist will fold into the existing eBuild receipt mechanism, and will be communicated to customers in more than one circumstance. This checklist will help to identify items that need to be completed prior to major project milestones like beginning of construction or receiving a certificate of occupancy, hopefully reducing some of the knowledge and time barriers that come with complex project or newer developers.
The checklist will launch as a part of eBuild this summer.
If you have to-do items that you feel would be helpful to include on the eBuild Notice of Accepted Application, send them to HousingTools@eugene-or.gov.
Review tree removal policy
Upon investigating this recommendation, staff realize that there are many different scenarios that can come into play when developing on a site with or adjacent to trees. To eliminate some of the confusion around how to manage trees on or near a development site, a new internet resource will be developed to outline the process for both private and public trees, their removal, valuation and coinciding landscape improvements, and permits and contact information. Providing one spot to hold all of the information on trees will offer clarity around the processes, regulations, and values our community has around trees.
This internet resource will be made available in late summer, early fall of this year.
Advocate to change liability requirements for condominiums
Under current Oregon state law, condominium projects (i.e., owner-occupied, multi-family) are subject to a ten-year statute of limitations on construction defect claims. The lengthy time period has contributed to increased insurance rates for condominium projects, which has deterred developers from initiating new condominium projects. In the 2019 Legislative session, HB 2661 sought to reduce the time period to six years. The bill, however, did not move beyond a committee hearing before the end of the Legislative session. The City of Eugene supported the legislation, and will do so again in the next session.
This strategy includes actions that can lead to a larger supply of explicitly subsidized, income-qualified, Affordable housing units.
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, and the complete review of the CET legislation is accessible at the link. 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 Trust Fund.
City Council will receive an update on CET implementation on July 24 beginning at 12:00 in Harris Hall (125 E. 8th Avenue, Eugene).
Shift money from the General Fund to Affordable Housing
With the recent implementation of the CET, $500,000 per year of City funds from the CET will be dedicated to Affordable Housing by placing it in the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Staff are recruiting for an Advisory Committee which will determine the use of these funds. The Committee will be formed in the fall, and recruitment is open until July 26.
Expand Eugene’s land banking program: 1059 Willamette
The HTS Working Group identified expansion of the land banking program as a solution to the limited availability of affordable housing. The City is pursuing a new land bank site in downtown Eugene and staff are determining if Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds are an appropriate funding tool.
Expand the land banking program for Affordable housing -River Road land banking site
On July 12, 2019, the River Road Affordable Housing was awarded Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and state Gap funds. The City Council awarded federal HOME funds and a Systems Development Charge exemption to the development in January 2019. St. Vincent de Paul proposed this project for the City-owned land bank site at 1505-1525 River Road, Construction is expected to begin in early 2020. The project is 53-units of housing targeted to households earning no more than 50% of the area median income (AMI) including 5 units targeted to households earning no more than 30% of AMI and 5 units targeted to survivors of domestic violence.
Complete the Consolidated Plan and Fair Housing Plan
The Eugene-Springfield Consolidated Plan presents an assessment of local housing, homelessness, and community development needs and establishes goals and priorities for use of HUD funds to address those needs. Eugene and Springfield must complete, adopt, and submit a new Consolidated Plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) every five years. The period covered by the next Consolidated Plan will commence on July 1, 2020 and end on June 30, 2025.
In addition to the Consolidated Planning process, Eugene will update its Fair Housing Plan, which examines laws, demographics related to population, housing, and housing choice to ensure persons of a protected class have a choice in the location of their housing. The process for developing both plans requires consultation with a wide range of stakeholders as well outreach to targeted populations. Completion of the Consolidated Plan and Fair Housing Plan are prerequisites for receiving Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME), and other HUD grants.
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.
Expand and improve program waiving SDCs for qualifying Affordable units
The Housing Opportunities Team and Public Works have been reviewing the existing system development charges (SDC) waiver program for Affordable units. Currently, the program has a maximum waiver amount per year, which does not cover local SDCs for one 50-unit development. Maintaining the current maximum SDC waiver value for qualifying affordable units could affect the number of affordable housing projects that have access to this financial assistance and the number of affordable housing units that would be produced. When a SDC is waived, it minimizes the overall quantity of dollars available for capital construction and preservation of citywide infrastructure. Raising the maximum SDC waiver value would reduce available funding to construct capital projects serving new development and maintaining existing infrastructure. Staff are researching and discussing the feasibility of adjusting the waiver amount while balancing housing and infrastructure needs.
Market District Commons groundbreaking
On July 17, 2019, Homes for Good held a groundbreaking ceremony for Market District Commons, the newest Affordable housing development in Eugene’s downtown core. This project is a partnership between Homes for Good, the City of Eugene, Lane County, and Obie Companies, representing a strong collaboration between public and private developers. Market District Commons will provide 50 units of supportive housing targeted to Lane County Veterans and Workforce. The location at 6th and Oak Street is ideal for both the residents and the surrounding community.
The City is recruiting for a new Housing Policy Board (HPB) Renters Protections Committee. The objective of the committee is to identify priority tools and strategies to protect renters and prevent displacement in areas with changing housing market conditions in Eugene. The committee will have 12 months, beginning in August 2019, to focus on five areas of renter protections including information, strategies, and potential programs and policies. This new committee will consist of nine at-large members, representing a wide variety of experiences and backgrounds. Appointments will be made at the August 5 HPB meeting. Applications are due by July 26. To apply for the committee visit the HPB website.
Create a housing action plan/implementation strategy
Staff utilized the actions identified by the Working Group, Better Housing Together, and other technical research to create the Housing Tools and Strategies Action Inventory. This document is the first step towards implementing “a housing action plan” identified through the HTS process.
HTS logo on city webpages
If you’ve been noodling around on the City of Eugene website you will have noticed this icon on more pages. These little houses have been used throughout the HTS process and now serve to link initiatives to the goal of increasing housing affordability, availability, and diversity of type. These initiatives may be recommendations from the Working Group, existing projects or programs, or new approaches. By connecting programs, initiatives, plans, and projects we can begin to visually show the cumulative effect of these efforts. And, we can connect everything to the same narrative- that housing affordability, availability, and diversity of type is a wicked problem that crosses many departments and work groups; solutions take time, process change, and thoughtful balancing of values; and that all these items can contribute to the goals within HTS.
Community Input 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. If you would like to be added to the interested parties list for HTS project updates, send an email request to HousingTools@eugene-or.gov.