Infill Project Affects Woodstock; Comment by August 15

GenHousePic_1_tThe 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.

Learn more in this booklet and on this website, then comment via this anonymous survey.

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.

3 Comments on “Infill Project Affects Woodstock; Comment by August 15”

  1. Nicole D'Amico

    Right now Woodstock is set to loose it’s soul. I lived a block from a colossal tree, over a century old. It was really two trees, grown together in infancy and merged to stunning effect, one shooting off the other in a perfect U. It was a masterwork of natural art, more gorgeous than any sculpture I have seen. It had it’s life taken away three years ago. Two homes were built, both which disregard the set up on the block of which way the front of homes face. This tree sequestered a likely three tons of carbon, provied shade to keep temperatures down, it perfomed biological processes keeping high moisture levels in the air, mitigated pollutants with it’s roots and was no doubt, home to a great many animals and bird families. That tree was there before Woodstock was a designated neighboorhood and played it’s part in making the neighboorhood livable for the people who settled here. The First Nations of this land called trees the Standing People, and this egalitarian view of consciousness and spirit as belonging to all planetary life is a valid perspective.

    Homes are being stuffed onto lots disregarding charm and aesthetics. I have seen two homes built on the front yards of lovely older homes. It looks monstrous and removes value from surrounding homes. The long term affect on taxes is apparent, the city will loose in the end.

    If the destruction of trees and large yards of natural habitat in Woodstock continues, the temperature will raise as stories-tall shade is obliterated, the air will grow drier each year, crows, hummingbirds and migrating wildlife will have greatly reduced places to forage for and store food, they will have no room to raise their familes and will be displaced or die. The pollution coming off Woodstock Blvd. will not be absorbed, it will rain down on our vegetable gardens. Since New Seasons opened, exhaust can be smelled for hours, and as concrete and asphalt replace live flora, the stink will worsen. Young trees will continue to be planted irresponsible and insanely close to new homes, and in a decade will need to be chopped – less car oil and fumes will be rendered hamless and our lots will be just like every other city in America: small and barren.

    Homeowners who bought homes for the tranquiltiy and spaciousness of the neighborhood will leave, possibly selling their lots to out of state, money-addicted developers with no artistry, care for nature or sensitivity to improving the quality of life for our neighborhood which includes a factor of charm and quietness.

    Or, we can do something different.

    We can put a moratorium on cutting down trees over 30 years old. We can keep lots from being divided up, preserving nature. We can institute a filtration initiative which precludes the pouring of concrete and asphalt over more than 60% of a land parcel. We can make it so that all Woodstock residents and migrating birds are free from light pollution and will contine to see stars brightly. We can halt the development of repulsive “architecture” and award special contracts to appealing designs. We can offer developers the ability to divide a parcel into three homes only if the homes are less than three hundred sqare feet.

    We can partner with the Audobon Society, the Public Trust for Land and other environmental entities which seek to improve the balance of nature in urban areas. We can apply for international and federal grants that provide funding to buy city lands and keep them pristine for the purpose of mitigating pollution, providing space for animal families to thrive and outdoor recreation for human familites to enjoy. We can be the world’s first 50/50 neighboorhood: 50% nature, 50% human development. We can lead the future of cities the world over with our dedication to halting this manifest destiny, and instead take powerful action to preserve and increase the abundance of gifts offered to us when trees thrive, animals flourish and birds sing year round.

    Will you please stand with me, making sure the Comprehensive Plan does not exploit the Woodstock neighborhood which is vulnerable, due to it’s residents not being rich in money but only verdant Oregonian land? Will you please help redesignate Woodstock properties from being zoned R5 and upgrade them to designations more sensitive to preserving lot sizes? Will you please help me find grants, societies and interested parties who’s goal it is to increase the quality of urban life, through balance with the natural world? Please help shift public perspective towards placing monetary value on the natural state of a plot of land instead of the size of home built on it. Pease stand up for the future of our planet one neighborhood at a time!

    1. Sheelagh Oliveria

      Thank you so much for this eloquent, well thought out report. I am concerned by trees being taken down and also about the, in my opinion, very ugly pre-fab box houses going up all over. These homes not only look as if they have just been dropped by aliens, there is nothing “green” about them. Lots are leveled and de-treed, sterilized for the huge pieces of equpment to carry chunks of roofs and walls, etc.
      Not only do they stand out as monoliths in these cozy hoods, but they only house 3-4 people, aka one family. If we are to be concerned about density in this city, why are these huge houses being built that take up an entire lot?

      Just one concern of many – Sheelagh Oliveria

  2. Arlene Williams

    A few points about this article:
    (1)This is not the Comprehensive Plan. This is something new, coming right on the heels of the Comprehensive Plan that will turn all the decision-making of the Comprehensive Plan about R5 and R2.5 zones on its head by changing what those zones allow in many areas, including a large part of Woodstock.
    (2) These infill proposals will reduce the size of homes to a degree, but they will not stop demolitions. Older, modest homes, if bought by a developer, can be torn down to put up 3 smaller units. In some cases, those units will not require parking if they are on historically narrow lots or within 500 feet of a frequent service bus route.
    (3) These proposals do not address Affordable Housing. There is no specific incentive for Affordable Housing in them. Because of this, though the houses might be smaller, they may still be beyond the reach of regular buyers because it will depend on the market, especially the cost of the land. Without some economic analysis, we are just guessing at the price of these future homes that will come at a cost to the cozy neighborhood we now enjoy.
    (4) Everyone needs to asks questions, attend meetings, and speak their mind. This is a complex proposal with advantages along with disadvantages. Take the time to understand exactly what the impacts will be before making up your mind.