Housing Tools and Strategies
The Housing Tools and Strategies team provides quarterly updates to City Council on progress of the items within the Action Inventory.
Below is a detailed visual from July 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).
Implementation of State Legislation- House Bill 2001
In July staff provided a brief update on the state legislation, HB 2001. 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 new legislation will apply to Eugene. The bill language is very clear in its intent which will assist with implementation.
The implementation of HB 2001 aligns with many of the Working Group’s planning and land use recommendations shared in the July HTS update such as:
The land use code audit;
Completing Comprehensive Plan chapter on housing;
The ADU remand; and,
River Road Santa Clara neighborhood plan/corridor study
Planning staff are developing an approach to comply with the state legislation that will be brought forward to the Planning Commission and Council for direction. Conceptually, the idea is to leverage the City’s efforts already underway to address housing affordability, availability, and diversity in a manner consistent with HB 2001, including elements of the HTS work plan along with necessary land use code and comprehensive plan amendments. The approach will enable the City to comply with the legislation within the State’s timeframe.
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 City Council work session for HTS, staff described two steps to implement the action item identified by the HTS Working Group: Align the Zoning map with the Comprehensive Plan. The two steps are:
To complete and adopt the Comprehensive Plan map with parcel-specific data;
To complete and adopt the housing chapter of the Comprehensive Plan.
These two steps will reduce the need for some administrative processes for some development applications, which will reduce costs for building housing. The Housing chapter and the map will provide guidance and lay a foundation that will make it simpler to implement many other actions identified in the HTS Action Inventory.
Since July, Planning staff have continued working with Lane Council of Governments (LCOG) to develop a technical methodology to digitize the Metro Plan diagram for City staff review. Staff recently hired an intern who will assist in clarifying land use plan designations boundaries and improve the accuracy of the map at the individual property level through research and documentation of land use decisions, neighborhood refinement plans and other planning documents.
River Road-Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan
The River Road-Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan includes draft goals, policies, and actions that support adding more housing types along River Road, a key transit corridor, as well as along major streets. Elements of the neighborhood vision relating to the corridor and allowing more housing types are consistent with the intent of HB 2001.
The neighborhood planning process is in the Action Planning phase, where community volunteers are refining a list of draft actions to implement each of the neighborhood plan goals. The neighborhood plan survey presents draft actions for community input, and the results will guide the Community Advisory Committee as they continue to refine actions and work to identify neighborhood priorities. In addition, the River Road Corridor Study survey presents two draft land use concepts for how to plan for housing near the River Road corridor – should we plan for denser apartments along River Road and major side streets, or allow middle housing such as triplexes, cottage clusters, and rowhouses over a wider area within walking distance of the corridor? The results of this survey will inform refined draft code concepts that allow a variety of housing types.
This fall refined draft actions and draft code concepts will be vetted at a community event, River Road and Santa Clara Community Organization meetings, a triple bottom line sounding board, and Planning Commission meetings. This community vetting and input will help inform the development of a draft neighborhood plan and any proposed zone or code changes, which 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.
Learn more about the River Road-Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan.
Accessory Dwelling Units
At City Council’s October work session on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), council discussed and voted on several potential changes to the draft ordinance before them. The draft ordinance was prepared in response to City Council direction, a recent Land Use Board of Appeals decision and recent changes in state law. Among other things, it includes the removal of owner/occupancy requirements and the removal of on-site parking requirements. At the meeting, Council voted in favor of amending the ordinance to remove barriers to ADUs on sloped lots and to remove barriers to ADUs being built above garages. Council is expected to take action on the full ordinance before the end of the year.
At the request of City Council, HTS staff are researching tools to lower the cost of building ADUs in Eugene. There are certain costs that stem from the process of developing an ADU that fall within the City’s purview. However, all these cost savings tools will need to be discussed at a policy level in order to understand the impacts of forgoing fees. Understanding how these costs may impact development will help to inform any attempts at lowering the cost of building ADUs in our community.
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.
Parks System Development Charges Methodology
In July Parks and Open Space began a discussion with City Council to develop a new methodology for how system development charges (SDC) for Parks are allocated. This methodology change stems from the July 2018 adoption of Picture. Plan. Play. A Vision and Implementation Plan for Eugene’s Parks and Recreation System, commonly referred to as the Parks and Recreation System Plan. This plan outlines a vision for Eugene’s parks and recreation network implemented over the next 30 years, and in order to fund the plan it will require multiple capital funding sources, one of which is SDCs.
The proposed methodology includes a tiered residential rate structure that bases the fee amount on housing size. This methodology directly supports the Working Group recommendation to adjust SDCs to reduce development costs for housing types that are smaller, lower cost, and have a lower impact on public infrastructure. The proposed methodology reduces Parks SDCs for houses below 800 square feet. Next steps for the proposed Parks SDC methodology include a public hearing scheduled for January 21st and additional Council Work Sessions.
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.
Affordable Housing Trust Fund Advisory Committee
The HTS Working Group recommended identifying additional funding sources for Affordable housing in our community. In April 2019 City Council approved an ordinance to establish a Construction Excise Tax (CET). The CET will create a dedicated source of local flexible funding for affordable housing. The revenue generated through the CET began to accrue on July 1, 2019 in the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF).
In October, the City Manager appointed nine individuals to serve on the Affordable Housing Trust Fund Advisory Committee. Many of the Working Group’s recommendations that influence housing affordability, availability, and diversity of type are eligible for funding through the AHTF such as expanding the land banking program, increasing emergency home repair capacity, creating a community fund to help new renters, down payment assistance programs for homebuyers, and permanently increasing capacity for environmental reviews of affordable housing projects. The Advisory Committee will determine priorities for the AHTF and provide recommendations to City Council to determine the use of the funds. The Advisory Committee meets for the first time on October 21. The meeting will set the stage for the committee and include introductions, learning about the role, goals, and outcomes of the committee, and an overview of the timeline and future meetings. The November meeting will focus on understanding housing needs in Eugene.
Expand Eugene’s land banking program: 1059 Willamette (old LCC Building)
The HTS Working Group identified expansion of the land banking program as a solution to the limited availability of affordable housing. The July update stated that the City is pursuing a new land bank site in downtown Eugene. Staff continue to work through due-diligence pieces such as an environmental review, a historic evaluation, and a historic materials assessment to determine whether Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds are an appropriate use to purchase the property.
The 1059 Willamette site is also identified in the 2016 Downtown Urban Renewal Plan Amendment. As part of this land banking opportunity, staff anticipate using Urban Renewal dollars for the site’s development. The land banking and Urban Renewal processes both require a public engagement and City Council approval process. Staff will begin the public engagement work this winter.
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 will cover the period from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2025. It will present an assessment of local housing, homelessness, and community development needs and establishes goals and priorities for use of HUD funds to address those needs. The HTS Working Group identified recommendations that fall within the goals and priorities of the Consolidated Plan.
The process for developing the Consolidated Plan requires consultation with a wide range of stakeholders as well outreach to targeted populations. Engagement is strongly encouraged at both the needs assessment stage and at the strategy development and prioritization stage. Staff is currently developing a consultation and public participation strategy for the Consolidated Plan. Eugene has retained the services of The Cloudburst Group, which is a consulting firm with expertise in the development of local affordable housing and community development strategies through Consolidated Plan processes.
As a requirement to the Consolidated Planning process, Eugene will update its Fair Housing Plan, also known as Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing. This plan 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. 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.
Staff will provide an update to Council during a Work Session on November 13.
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.
Housing Policy Board (HPB) Renter Protections Committee
The HTS Working Group recommended increasing renter protections, and at the March 2019 HTS work session, City Council asked staff and the Housing Policy Board (HPB) to further research renter protections. In August, HPB appointed nine individuals to serve as at-large members on the Renter 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 began meeting in September for its first of 12 monthly meetings. The September meeting focused on reviewing the results of the 2019 Renters Experience Survey, understanding Fair Housing, and committee work including identifying goals, a work plan, and a tentative timeline. The October meeting focused on renter and landlord education and resulted in identifying the following priority ideas:
The need for a hotline for both tenants and landlords,
The need for resources when people are becoming renters and when they are in crisis, and
The need to create more connected services, such as centralized information – website, location, resources and referrals.
The committee will meet in November to discuss deposit assistance and rent assistance programs.
Short Term Rental Draft Code
The Working Group identified regulation of short-term rentals as a recommendation to protect the availability of rental properties in Eugene. At a September work session, Council received an overview of short-term rental use in Eugene through platforms such as Airbnb, positive and negative effects of these rentals, and regulatory approaches from other cities. Council provided direction to develop draft code language for regulation of short-term rentals to include:
License and renewal fees;
Limitations to the number of days a unit can be rented;
Permit revocation based on number of complaints per calendar year;
Requirements for on-line platforms to assist in regulations; and
Council will review the draft code language in December and provide further direction to staff.
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.