The Residential Infill Project* is a set of proposals to alter residential housing over a large area of Portland, including Woodstock. It’s a mixed bag of good and bad news for both developers and residents. It could lead to more houses being demolished and replaced, but may also encourage more dwellings of a smaller scale in square feet and/or price. The proposals will affect our quality of life — so it’s up to all Woodstockians to inform themselves and add insightful comments to the process before the August 15 deadline.
The biggest change is that in designated areas, duplexes or triplexes could be built on some R5-zoned lots in historically single-family residential neighborhoods. The proposals would allow up to three living units on one 5,000-square-foot R5 lot**. They would also allow retaining an existing home and dividing it internally or adding up to two accessory dwelling units (ADUs). Other changes:
- In these same areas, historically narrow lots*** (often 25 feet wide, though they vary) would not be required to have off-street parking — and front garages would not be allowed.
- Even outside designated areas, “cottage cluster” housing would be allowed on 10,000-square-foot lots in historically single-family residential neighborhoods.
Further background for those keeping track:
*The Residential Infill Project is separate from the Comprehensive Plan. In general, the Comp Plan sought to change lots’ designated zoning while the Residential Infill Project seeks to keep the zoning but redefine what it allows. Of course that still means the potential for both welcome and intrusive change within neighborhoods.
**Not all R5 lots are 5,000 square feet. Despite the name, an R5 lot can be as small as 3,000 square feet — or even as small as 1,600 square feet under rare conditions.
***On Portland Maps, use the property-tax map’s “Assessor Detail” tab. Underlying historical lot lines will show up as dotted lines.