Land Use Meeting: Demolitions, Infill, Zoning and More (Updated)

Next meeting: Wednesday, Nov. 18, 7 p.m., Woodstock Community Center, 5905 SE 43rd Ave.

Draft Zoning Map Preview from 9/16These are interesting times for the Woodstock neighborhood. Percentage increases in its home prices this summer appear to have been among the steepest in the nation (based on a recently released report and the fact that Zillow.com showed Woodstock outpacing the city as a whole). Such a hot real estate market can mean rapid change in neighborhood character. Are you concerned about intertwined issues such as those listed below? You can be sure they’ll play a part in the neighborhood association’s next Land Use Committee (LUC) meeting, which is open to all.

Home Demolitions

Mayor Charlie Hales popped in at a meeting earlier this month to discuss his plan for a demolition tax. The basic idea is to charge developers $25,000 in cases where a viable house would just be replaced with another (that would likely be bigger and more expensive but wouldn’t make progress toward density goals). Exceptions would apply for derelict houses and other situations.

Infill in Current Zoning

The Woodstock neighborhood is predominantly zoned R5, which means one residence on a 5,000-square-foot lot — right? Not so fast: Illogically, the minimum lot size for R5 is 3,000 square feet, which makes for easier lot division and can favor taller, skinnier houses. A point of contention among those participating in the city’s Residential Infill Project is whether it’s in scope to clarify zoning terms for more predictable changes in neighborhood character.

Potential Changes in Future Zoning [updated Nov. 23]

Neighborhoods across the city are being asked to comment on the 2035 Comprehensive Plan, which helps determine how Portland will grow. For Woodstock, two potential changes are in play.

Mixed-use zoning: Residential zoning may change to mixed-use in some areas half a block from Woodstock Blvd. This is currently before City Council for review. You can testify about the change in person or in writing.

Also, full blocks north and south of Woodstock Boulevard are designated for future mixed-use zoning. This implies that the city’s vision for those blocks is for a combination of multifamily (apartment) and/or commercial use. Before that designation can become an actual zoning change, adequate infrastructure must be in place. In Woodstock, that would include a more complete street grid.

R2.5 zoning: Some parts of the neighborhood are zoned R5, but also have R2.5 designation. (See them on a map.) The city is analyzing whether and where these areas should have their zoning changed to R2.5 to match their designation. This would increase the potential for two housing units — such as skinny houses, rowhouses, or a duplex — to occupy lots where one house is allowed. The city’s analysis will lead to a proposal in January. If the proposal is to change zoning to R2.5, the city will notify all property owners — and the Planning and Sustainability Commission will hear testimony.

A closely related question for both issues is how unimproved streets would change to accommodate such use.

[Added Nov. 20] Learn about Zoning Changes in Your Area

If you live on or own property within two blocks of the following areas where zoning changes are being considered, plan to attend a special meeting on December 9 at 7 p.m. in the Woodstock Community Center:

  • Woodstock Blvd. between Chavez Blvd. and 60th
  • Chavez Blvd. between Woodstock and Insley St.
  • The intersection of Chavez and Holgate Blvd.
  • The intersection of Holgate and 52nd

A Hot Ticket

If land-use meetings are ever a hot ticket, it’s probably now. Come learn more about the issues that will shape our neighborhood, and maybe even add your influence to how they unfold.