Envision Eugene lays out a vision for the future in which all members of the community, regardless of income level, have access to housing that is affordable. In order to balance that with the equally important values of neighborhood livability, compact urban development, efficient transportation options, and climate and energy resiliency, a great deal of thought must be put into where and how housing will be accommodated in Eugene.
Because Oregon as a state has placed great value on using our land and resources efficiently and thoughtfully, we have established procedures for determining how we devote land to housing as a use. These procedures inform how Envision Eugene has evaluated where and how much land we need for housing to meet the goals laid out in the Envision Eugene pillars.
Housing is frequently brought up in conversations about Envision Eugene. Are we expanding for housing? Why or why not? This page covers some of the big picture questions about how housing is being addressed through Envision Eugene. For more details, see the More on Housing sidebar.
How do we plan for housing?
Because of all that time needed, we plan ahead for twenty years of housing need. That means that we have to plan for the number of people and homes that we think we will have in twenty years, rather than the just what we have now. For Eugene, we estimate more than 15,000 new homes being needed by 2032. Beyond the number, we also have to plan for the kinds of homes (single-family, apartments, townhomes), based on the values identified in the pillars (such as affordability) and the demographic and development trends we observe.
As noted in more detail on the urban growth boundary page, the three basic (but overlapping) steps for planning for housing are to determine:
A) How much land we need for 20 years of population growth in terms of housing (this includes decisions about the mix of housing that we expect)
B) How much of that land we already have inside the UGB, and
C) How we are going to make up any difference
Identifying how to meet this land need has been a major effort of Envision Eugene. Beyond Envision Eugene, many efforts are made to increase the quality, choice, and affordability of housing in Eugene. Additional efforts are made to foster the ability of more residents to access their daily needs within 20-minute neighborhoods.
What is the latest on housing?
The broad types of housing that Envision Eugene is planning for are multi-family (duplexes, apartments, and attached single-family housing types like condos and rowhouses) and single-family detached. We expect to need around 15,105 total additional homes in Eugene by 2032.
Envision Eugene has long included a commitment to accommodating our multi-family homes inside the current urban growth boundary (UGB). In October of 2016, City Council directed staff to prepare the urban growth boundary package using two strategies to meet our remaining multi-family housing need of 1,600 homes: 1) High Density Residential Downtown Redevelopment Strategy, and 2) Medium Density Residential Option B to increase minimum density requirements (in R-2 zones) with exemptions for lots under half an acre in size and subsidized affordable housing developments.
Update! The change to the R-2 zone minimum density requirements is reflected in the City's proposed Residential Ordinance (page 3) within the UGB Adoption Package. For more background, see also Multi-family Housing Options.
Although early analysis suggested a possible need to expand for single-family homes, more recent analysis has shown that we can also accommodate those single-family homes inside the current urban growth boundary. As a result, the revised recommendation includes no urban growth boundary expansion for housing. You can learn more about the UGB expansion recommendation, and actions taken to adjust how housing is accommodated within the current UGB. To efficiently accommodate Eugene’s future need for single family homes inside the existing UGB, and to implement the best outcomes of the community vision as a whole, the UGB recommendation also includes:
- Providing for services such as wastewater to enable development of land currently planned for single family homes.
- Resolving current, transportation-related limitations on development capacity through the in-progress update to our local Transportation System Plan.
- Planning for the development of about 200 acres of land recently re-designated for single-family homes.
- Establishing an ongoing monitoring program to track the progress of our density assumptions, land consumption, housing mix, and other key indicators of development capacity, allowing us to periodically evaluate our progress, and make adjustments as necessary.
- Initiating urban reserves planning for longer term growth once the city receives a new population forecast.
How does housing relate to adopting our UGB?
Policies – Because the UGB Adoption Package does not include an expansion for housing, the Envision Eugene Comprehensive Plan will not include new land use policies related to housing. Currently adopted Metro Plan housing policies will continue to apply to Eugene.
Code – New land use code language is included in the UGB Adoption Package to address housing through amendments to the R-2 medium-density residential zone. (Some changes to zoning and comprehensive plan designations have already been adopted to accommodate more housing inside the UGB. See Residential Re-designations.)
Supporting Documents – Documents presenting the fact base and analysis for decisions related to housing are in the Residential Land Supply Study, which includes the Housing Needs Analysis, Buildable Lands Inventory, and Residential Land Supply Maps (see also Land Supply and Capacity).
Urban Growth Boundary – The formally adopted UGB will reflect the determination not to expand for housing.
Legal Findings - These documents specifically address the state's legal requirements, including those regarding housing.
Because these documents are focused on showing the state that we are meeting our responsibilities in accordance with state law, most of the language in these documents is both legal and extremely detailed.
How does housing relate to Envision Eugene: Vision to Action?
Housing is one of our essential responsibilities to provide land for, and is associated with several of the pillars, including housing affordability, neighborhood livability, compact development and climate and energy resilience.
The Community Vision explores the history, the values, and the goals that inform how Eugene should grow. Housing is addressed as both a responsibility and topic around which the community has core values.
The Comprehensive Plan is the state-mandated land use policy plan for the City of Eugene. Land for housing is addressed in its own chapter, while other issues related to housing are addressed in additional chapters.
The Urban Form Plan presents both local context and best practices to guide and inform the built environment in Eugene. These guidelines address the more specific design aspects of housing structures.
The Action Plan lays out specific steps to achieve the goals of Envision Eugene. Several of these actions relate to housing through land supply and monitoring, land use code, urban reserve planning, and the financial context of housing.
What else might I want to know about housing?
What is the 2015 population forecast?
While Envision Eugene is currently based on a 2012-2032 forecast for growth of about 34,000 people, Portland State University provided a new population forecast in 2015 projecting a population increase for Eugene of around 40,000 people between 2015 and 2035 (20 years), and around 90,000 people between 2015 and 2065 (50 years). This forecast can be used to plan for urban reserves, such as planning for where a UGB expansion for housing would occur beyond 20 years.
When will urban reserves planning begin?
Urban reserves planning can begin once our urban growth boundary is adopted as a baseline.
How has our understanding of single-family housing capacity changed?
Early analysis by staff, committee members, and consultants determined that about 90% of the future single-family housing demand could be accommodated inside the existing UGB. This analysis led to studies in the Bailey Hill/Gimpl Hill, Clear Lake, Russel Creek Basin, and Greenhill/DAG property areas for potential UGB expansion for housing. More recent analysis has shown that Eugene has more than enough land to accommodate the projected number of single-family homes for the next 20 years.
These homes are expected to be developed mostly on vacant and partially vacant land and through some redevelopment. The City is also adopting actions that will provide more space for additional single-family homes by promoting secondary dwelling units, as well as re-designating some areas originally planned for multi-family housing to instead be planned to develop with single-family housing. See here for more information about these re-designations that were adopted in 2014.