Emergency Shelter Siting Approval Process
"Super Siting" – House Bill 4212
A new state law adopted by the Oregon Legislature this summer (HB 4212) requires the City of Eugene to approve an application for an Emergency Shelter regardless of state or local land use laws as long as the application complies with the approval criteria in the new state law. In other words, the City of Eugene cannot deny an application to develop an Emergency Shelter if the application complies with the new state law, even if, under other circumstances, the City’s land use code would prohibit the Emergency Shelter at that location.
In June 2020, the Oregon State Legislature adopted HB 4212 to remove land use barriers that might otherwise prevent emergency shelters from locating on certain sites. HB 4212 allows local governments and certain non-profit organizations to develop emergency shelters in available buildings and/or on open sites without the need for any land use approvals (such as an application for a zone change or a conditional use permit) for the underlying property.
What is “Super Siting”?
“Super Siting” is a short-hand for the application and approval process for Emergency Shelters required the by the new state law. Super Siting means that Emergency Shelters that meet the requirements of the new state law do not have to comply with state and local land use laws. As an example, Eugene’s land use code does not currently allow homeless shelters in most commercial and residential zones. An Emergency Shelter that qualifies for Super Siting could be developed on property in a residential or commercial zone. HB 4212 authorizes “super siting” of qualified emergency shelters. “Super siting” provides a shorter process for qualified projects and does not include typical state or local land use requirements.
What is considered an Emergency Shelter that is eligible for Super Siting?
The new state law defines “Emergency Shelter” as a building that provides shelter on a temporary basis for individuals and families who lack permanent housing. The new state law requires the City to approve an Emergency Shelter for operation on any property if the Emergency Shelter can meet the following requirements:
- Includes sleeping and restroom facilities
- Complies with applicable building codes
- Is located within an urban growth boundary or in a rural residential zone
- Will not result in a new building that is sited within an area designated under a statewide land use planning goal relating to natural disasters and hazards (e.g. flood plains or mapped environmental health hazards) unless the development complies with regulations directly related to the hazard
- Has adequate transportation access to commercial and medical services
- Will not pose any unreasonable risk to public health or safety
Who must operate an Emergency Shelter?
The emergency shelter must be operated by:
- A local government, or
- An organization with at least two years’ experience operating an emergency shelter using best practices that is:
- A housing authority
- A religious corporation,
- A public benefit corporation whose charitable purpose includes the support of homeless individuals and that has been recognized as exempt from income tax under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code on or before January 1, 2017, or
- A nonprofit corporation partnering with any of those entities.
Does the City have to approve all Emergency Shelter Super Siting Applications?
The new state law requires the City to approve a Super Siting application for an Emergency Shelter as long as the application complies with the approval criteria in the new state law.
How long is this special Emergency Shelter Super Siting process available?
All Emergency Shelter Super Siting applications must be submitted to the City of Eugene by September 28, 2020 (90 days from the date the new law took effect). The City cannot approve Emergency Shelter Super Siting applications received after September 28, 2020.
What is the process for reviewing an Emergency Shelter Super Siting application?
An Emergency Shelter Super Siting decision is not a land use decision and the process for consideration of an Emergency Shelter Super Siting application is significantly different than a land use application process. Unlike the process for a land use application, state law does not require mailed notice, a public hearing or solicitation of public comment on an Emergency Shelter Super Siting Application. The law also does not require the City to make a decision on an Emergency Shelter Super Siting application within a particular period of time. When an Emergency Shelter Super Siting application is submitted, all the application materials and the decision on the application will be posted on this website. A decision on an Emergency Shelter Super Siting application may be appealed within 60 days of the decision using the writ of review process. Emergency Shelter Super Siting decisions may not be appealed to the Land Use Board of Appeals.