Yes. Under the proposed code, no building can be taller than 3 stories along a street, at which point taller buildings are required to step back for all upper stories. The current code allows buildings as tall as 120 feet to be built immediately on the front property line (The Hub on Broadway near Patterson is an example), potentially restricting light, air and views and not providing adequate space for amenities supporting the community’s vision of a walkable district and business vitality.
The design code proposes a “special setback” on South Willamette and 29th Avenue to ensure that future development will allow space for a safe and attractive pedestrian environment and on-street parking. These measures are critical for achieving the community’s vision. The special setback will help ensure that future buildings are placed in the right location to allow the desired, future street-side realm to be built within the district over time. On South Willamette Street, this includes a 15 foot special setback from the existing right of way on either side of the street. The future street-side realm preserved by the special setback would be able to accommodate a 10’ sidewalk, street trees, and amenities like lights and benches, and on-street parking to serve adjacent businesses.
As discussed in more detail below, regarding the triggers for the new code, this special setback would not impact current businesses. Current businesses need existing parking and site improvements; impacts to these existing improvements could be damaging to businesses, and so the proposed standards only apply to new projects. Property owners who choose to make changes on their property would only be required to meet the proposed standards if the existing sidewalk is demolished and reconstructed. However, to support the success of future businesses, owners would have the option of constructing long-term street-side improvements, including on-street parking, at the time of redevelopment.