Housing Tools and Strategies
The Housing Tools and Strategies team provides quarterly updates to City Council on progress of the items within the Action Inventory.
Below is a detailed visual from January providing a broad overview of project milestones and anticipated timelines. For better legibility, download the visual here.
Both completed and in-progress items are described in detail in the tabbed sections below.
This strategy includes actions that require some change to the City’s land use code (Chapter 9).
Implementation of State Legislation- House Bill 2001
In July staff provided a brief update on the state legislation, HB 2001. The bill seeks to address rising housing costs and limited supply. HB 2001 requires cities with populations greater than 25,000 to allow duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, “cottage clusters,” and townhomes in lands zoned for single-family dwellings. The new legislation will apply to Eugene. The bill language is very clear in its intent which will assist with implementation.
The implementation of HB 2001 aligns with and leverages many of the Working Group’s planning and land use recommendations shared in the July HTS update such as:
The land use code audit;
Completing Comprehensive Plan chapter on housing;
The ADU remand; and,
River Road Santa Clara neighborhood plan/corridor study
Planning staff are developing an approach to comply with the state legislation that will be brought forward to the Planning Commission and Council for direction. The approach will enable the City to comply with the legislation within the State’s designated time frame of implementation by June 30, 2022.
Currently, the two-year approach to implementation of the State’s legislation is as follows:
Project scoping and drafting of a public involvement plan began in fall of 2019 and will continue through this winter.
Design and code concepts will be prepared and vetted in spring, summer, and fall of 2020.
Code writing and code package preparations will be developed in winter and spring of 2021.
And, the formal adoption process is planned for summer and fall of 2021.
Planning staff have developed a Frequently Asked Questions document to share information. To get involved in the process and stay informed of next steps members of the public should contact email@example.com.
Complete land use code audit of regulatory and process barriers to housing production
This audit is a process and regulatory audit of the land use code will identify barriers to ADUs and missing middle housing. By identifying these barriers we can amend the code in the future to facilitate easier development of these housing types.
On March 18th, the Planning Commission provided input on the scope and methodology to analyze the City’s comprehensive plan, land use code, and other land development documents and regulations. The Planning Commission reviewed the draft audit on April 22nd. The presentation is available online as slides or as a webcast.
The audit was completed in June. To see the completed audit and more details, visit the project website.
Improve the Clear and Objective standards
Last May, Council advanced the proposed Clear & Objective land use code amendments on to the formal adoption process. As a reminder, these updates will apply to land use applications that involve housing such as land divisions, planned unit developments, conditional uses, and site reviews when an applicant elects to have the project reviewed under clear and objective requirements as they are entitled by State law. The proposed changes to our existing clear and objective approval criteria range from simple maintenance fixes to addressing some more complex items like tree preservation and geotechnical requirements.
Prior to starting the formal adoption process, Council directed staff to work through some additional refinements to the draft code with Planning Commission. Staff has been working on responsive changes, primarily related to the draft tree preservation standards, and recently returned to Planning Commission on January 27, 2020, with a second work session scheduled for February 11, 2020. Following the Planning Commission’s review and refinement of the revised draft, we will officially begin the formal adoption process. The adoption process is anticipated to take approximately six months and the public will be able to provide feedback in multiple ways. First, the Planning Commission will hold a public hearing and make a recommendation to Council. Next, City Council will hold a public hearing before taking final action.
To stay up-to-date regarding meetings, check the project website for upcoming event announcements and links to the agendas and webcasts. You can also email the project manager, Jenessa Dragovich, at JDragovich@eugene-or.gov if you want to receive project updates directly.
Align the zoning map with the Comprehensive Plan map
At the March 2019 City Council work session for HTS, staff described two steps to implement the action item identified by the HTS Working Group: Align the Zoning map with the Comprehensive Plan. The two steps are:
To complete and adopt the Comprehensive Plan map with parcel-specific data;
To complete and adopt the housing chapter of the Comprehensive Plan.
These two steps will reduce the need for some administrative processes for some development applications, which will reduce costs for building housing. The Housing chapter and the map will provide guidance and lay a foundation that will make it simpler to implement many other actions identified in the HTS Action Inventory.
Since July, Planning staff have continued working with Lane Council of Governments (LCOG) to develop a technical methodology to digitize the Metro Plan diagram for City staff review. Staff recently hired an intern who will assist in clarifying land use plan designations boundaries and improve the accuracy of the map at the individual property level through research and documentation of land use decisions, neighborhood refinement plans and other planning documents.
River Road-Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan
The River Road-Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan includes draft goals, policies, and actions that support adding more housing types along River Road, a key transit corridor, as well as along major streets. Elements of the neighborhood vision relating to the corridor and allowing more housing types are consistent with the intent of HB 2001.
The neighborhood planning process is in the Action Planning phase, where community volunteers are refining a list of draft actions to implement each of the neighborhood plan goals. The neighborhood plan survey presents draft actions for community input, and the results will guide the Community Advisory Committee as they continue to refine actions and work to identify neighborhood priorities. In addition, the River Road Corridor Study survey presents two draft land use concepts for how to plan for housing near the River Road corridor – should we plan for denser apartments along River Road and major side streets, or allow middle housing such as triplexes, cottage clusters, and rowhouses over a wider area within walking distance of the corridor? The results of this survey will inform refined draft code concepts that allow a variety of housing types.
This fall refined draft actions and draft code concepts will be vetted at a community event, River Road and Santa Clara Community Organization meetings, a triple bottom line sounding board, and Planning Commission meetings. This community vetting and input will help inform the development of a draft neighborhood plan and any proposed zone or code changes, which will go through a public land use process with community, Planning Commission, and City Council/Board of Commissioners meetings leading up to plan adoption and implementation.
Learn more about the River Road-Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan.
Accessory Dwelling Units
On January 21, City Council passed an ordinance making changes to the City’s accessory dwelling unit (ADU) regulations. The process started in January 2018 to implement changes to state law (SB 1051 and eventually HB 2001), and this action was a long time in the making after a remand from the Land Use Board of Appeals on Council’s first ordinance, and several changes in state and case law.
There are a several items in the ordinance that should have a positive impact on the number of ADUs that Eugene will see. In addition to removing owner/occupancy and parking requirements, the most impactful changes include increasing building height/sloped setback inflection point from 8 feet to 10 feet (meaning the ADU can now be 10 feet in height at the interior yard setback, before sloping up to the maximum height) and removing barriers to above garage ADUs and ADUs on sloped by increasing the building height and sloped setbacks.
Additionally, the changes include the following:
Clarifies that accessory dwellings are not accessory buildings
Aligns the definition of accessory dwelling with that provided in ORS 197.312(5) (aka SB 1051).
Adds accessory dwellings as an explicitly permitted uses in the following zones:
R-2 Medium Density Residential
R-3 Limited High-Density Residential
R-4 High Density Residential
S-E Elmira Road Special Area Zone
S-HB Blair Boulevard Historic Commercial Special Area Zone
Clarifies that uses allowed in the S-JW Jefferson Westside Special Area Zone and S-C Chambers Special Area zone include what the State defines as an “accessory dwelling unit,” but the two zones refer to the use as an additional “one-family dwelling”
Applies the R-1 Low Density Residential zone standards for accessory dwellings to accessory dwellings in the following zones:
R-2 Medium Density Residential
R-3 Limited High-Density Residential
R-4 High Density Residential
S-E Elmira Road Special Area Zone
Removes regulations that regulate dog keeping separately for an accessory dwelling
Allows for accessory dwellings on new flag lots
This strategy includes actions that reduce or remove financial and regulatory barriers.
Clarify requirements for erosion control standards
In April, the City of Eugene's Erosion Prevention Program updated the residential erosion permitting applications to provide a checklist for home builders.
This checklist can assist builders with having a completed application. When complete applications are submitted, the City can review and issue permits much more quickly, saving builders time in the permitting process. This checklist will save builders time in the permitting process.
The City's erosion standards are performance-based, meaning that the standards are based on achieving certain outcomes and options are presented to achieve these outcomes, allowing builders to select the best solution for their budget and project. The application has been revised to include this checklist and a sample site plan in order to provide clarity for those undertaking single family residential or duplex projects. The new application can be found here.
Offer project and program assistance–Development Investment Group (DIG)
The HTS Working Group identified a recommendation that the City offer project and program assistance for those undertaking housing developments. The process is complex and having materials and staff to engage with can positively impact the outcome of a project, resulting in an increase of housing affordability, availability and diversity of type.
As a result, the City created the Development Investment Group (DIG). DIG is a new initiative to help make development projects less complex. DIG seeks to facilitate development and good design in Eugene with the outcome of building stronger relationships with the development community, making sure project teams are supported through each stage of a project, and clarifying the complex processes related to development in Eugene. DIG engages with small backyard projects and large multi-story developments to offer preliminary design, initial land use feasibility, site/building selection, navigation of multiple land and building permit processes, completion of financing packages, business support, and connections with the community.
The City implemented a planned permit rate increase on July 1, 2019. The new fees are about a 3% increase over last year’s fees and cover annual inflation adjustments and support needed staffing and proposed service level improvements such as the full build-out of eBuild 2.0, the City’s digital permit review system.
The permit rate increase will not apply to housing permits that are adding one or more dwelling units. These permits will receive a 3% offset to effectively hold them harmless from the increase to support Eugene’s goals for housing affordability in our community. This offset will last for two years. This item is not on the HTS Action Inventory, but staff identified it as a tool to help minimize costs for housing. Visit this website for more information on building permit fees.
Streamline the permitting process
eBuild 2.0 builds on the streamlining and benefits that exist within the current eBuild system. eBuild 1.0 was implemented in 2015 and transitioned builders from a paper-based system to a system where drawing submission, fee payments, and contractor selection are all available electronically. The public facing portion of eBuild 1.0 has significantly streamlined permitting process that the City has made available for the community. eBuild 2.0 will streamline internal processes and bring the building inspection team to the electronic system. This continues the focus on high quality, safe outcomes our community expects.
eBuild 2.0 will-
- Improve inspectors’ ability to work in the field,
- Allow City staff to easily witness, verify, and track projects, with large improvements in phased permits approvals, and
- Manage records and data, keeping all plan documents which will result in long term efficiencies and higher quantities of property information for owners
Though completion of eBuild 2.0 is still several years away, eBuild 1.0 has resulted in many improvements for the community’s large and small projects. The eBuild website is a great place to get started.
Create an account for a project with EWEB when City permit is initiated
Syncing with EWEB’s customer service system proves to be a large undertaking. To move towards a solution with this recommendation, staff investigated the permit submission process and steps eBuild customers need to take once their building permits have been submitted and accepted. We are working to create a checklist that identifies next steps for customers upon having an accepted permit. This checklist will fold into the existing eBuild receipt mechanism, and will be communicated to customers in more than one circumstance. This checklist will help to identify items that need to be completed prior to major project milestones like beginning of construction or receiving a certificate of occupancy, hopefully reducing some of the knowledge and time barriers that come with complex project or newer developers.
The checklist will launch as a part of eBuild this summer.
If you have to-do items that you feel would be helpful to include on the eBuild Notice of Accepted Application, send them to HousingTools@eugene-or.gov.
Review tree removal policy
Upon investigating this recommendation, staff realize that there are many different scenarios that can come into play when developing on a site with or adjacent to trees. To eliminate some of the confusion around how to manage trees on or near a development site, a new internet resource will be developed to outline the process for both private and public trees, their removal, valuation and coinciding landscape improvements, and permits and contact information. Providing one spot to hold all of the information on trees will offer clarity around the processes, regulations, and values our community has around trees.
This internet resource will be made available in late summer, early fall of this year.
Advocate to change liability requirements for condominiums
Under current Oregon state law, condominium projects (i.e., owner-occupied, multi-family) are subject to a ten-year statute of limitations on construction defect claims. The lengthy time period has contributed to increased insurance rates for condominium projects, which has deterred developers from initiating new condominium projects. In the 2019 Legislative session, HB 2661 sought to reduce the time period to six years. The bill, however, did not move beyond a committee hearing before the end of the Legislative session. The City of Eugene supported the legislation, and will do so again in the next session.
Parks System Development Charges Methodology
In July Parks and Open Space began a discussion with City Council to develop a new methodology for how system development charges (SDC) for Parks are allocated. This methodology change stems from the July 2018 adoption of Picture. Plan. Play. A Vision and Implementation Plan for Eugene’s Parks and Recreation System, commonly referred to as the Parks and Recreation System Plan. This plan outlines a vision for Eugene’s parks and recreation network implemented over the next 30 years, and in order to fund the plan it will require multiple capital funding sources, one of which is SDCs.
The proposed methodology includes a tiered residential rate structure that bases the fee amount on housing size. This methodology directly supports the Working Group recommendation to adjust SDCs to reduce development costs for housing types that are smaller, lower cost, and have a lower impact on public infrastructure. The proposed methodology reduces Parks SDCs for houses below 800 square feet. Next steps for the proposed Parks SDC methodology include a public hearing scheduled for January 21st and additional Council Work Sessions.
This strategy includes actions that can lead to a larger supply of explicitly subsidized, income-qualified, Affordable housing units.
Identify new revenue sources for affordable housing/charge a CET
On Monday, April 8, 2019 City Council approved the implementation of a Construction Excise Tax (CET). The City Council meeting is available online to view, and the complete review of the CET legislation is accessible at the link. The CET establishes a tax for people who apply to construct a commercial or residential improvement in the city. $500,000 per year of City funds from the CET will be designated to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
Affordable Housing Trust Fund Advisory Committee
The Affordable Housing Trust Fund Advisory Committee (AHTF AC) continues to meet monthly. In November, the committee discussed community needs and the Eugene-Springfield Consolidated Plan strategies. In December, the AHTF AC heard from the Housing Policy Board’s Renters Protections Committee (RPC) about their recommendations for renter assistance (see below). In addition, five affordable housing providers discussed expanding rental housing development, including challenges and opportunities. Challenges included the difficulty of layering funding, competition for those funds, the lengthy time it takes for due diligence, and that target populations score higher for state tax credits, but other priority populations are being left out. Opportunities include expanding the City’s land acquisition program (these development-ready sites are highly successful and ideal for developers), the use of flexible funding, offering grants rather than revolving loans enables housing providers to offer lower rents, offering assistance with pre-development costs in the form of a short-term loan, and funding “outside of the box” projects. The committee also learned about the City of Eugene’s current affordable housing Request for Proposals (for affordable housing acquisition, rehabilitation, and new construction) process.
At the committee’s January 28 meeting, they heard about and discussed expanding home ownership opportunities. Guest presenters provided an overview of Oregon policy as it relates to home ownership opportunities, challenges and opportunities for expanding local home ownership, and information about local residential real estate market conditions.
In February, the committee will hear from other jurisdictions in Oregon and how they are utilizing the Construction Excise Tax in their communities. Staff will return to City Council with an update on the AHTF Advisory Committee in April.
Additional information is available on the website, including a sign up button to join an interested parties list to keep up with the work of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund Advisory Committee.
Housing Policy Board (HPB) Renter Protections Committee
The HPB Renters Protections Committee (RPC) continues to meet monthly. The committee has had the opportunity to learn about deposit and rent assistance. In December, guest presenters from rental application screening companies provided information about application and screening processes.
On December 18, 2019, members of the RPC presented recommendations to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund Advisory Committee (AHTF AC) for programs or services to support renters, including:
Improving education for landlords and tenants by:
Expanding or establishing a hotline for both tenants and landlords
Creating a centralized website, location, resources (including mediation) and referrals
Providing resources when people are becoming renters, including students (high school, community college, college), and when they are in crisis
Providing landlord and tenant translation access
Finding ways to expand landlords’ knowledge of rights and responsibilities, and
The following priority ideas related to financial assistance for renters:
Funding existing programs
Funding one-time rent assistance program(s) with flexible qualifying criteria
Establishing a security deposit fund for qualified renters (consider sliding scale fee or grants for very low- or no-income renters)
Creating a one-stop shop/clearinghouse with resources for renters, staffed with someone who could help renters with applications and related paperwork
In January, staff from the Portland Housing Bureau presented information about Portland’s efforts to support stable housing for renters. In February, the committee will discuss these topics further. They will identify recommendations for deposit and rent assistance and consider options for application screening processes. In March, the committee will learn about and discuss services to provide mental health support to stabilize renters, which has been identified as a priority need multiple times.
Additional information is available on the website, including a sign up button to join an interested parties list to be kept informed about the work of the Renters Protections Committee.
Expand Eugene’s land banking program: 1059 Willamette (old LCC Building)
The HTS Working Group identified expansion of the land banking program as a solution to the limited availability of affordable housing. Staff continue to work through due-diligence pieces to determine whether Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds are an appropriate use to purchase the property and implement a mixed income project that includes units at market rate rents and at rents affordable to those making 80% of Area Median Income (AMI) and below. A Community Input Meeting was held on January 14 to hear from housing providers, neighbors, and developers on the project under consideration. On January 29, City Council approved the use of CDBG funds to acquire the site.
There are few subsidies that apply to projects serving income levels at 80% AMI. Traditional Affordable Housing projects at 60% AMI qualify for tax credits and HOME funds which makes them financially viable. Financial modeling shows that a mixed income project like this will result in a financial gap. This project is eligible for Urban Renewal funds which could be used to fill the gap. The Urban Renewal process requires engagement, a public hearing, and City Council approval which would all be addressed as the project proceeds.
Expand the land banking program for Affordable housing -River Road land banking site
On July 12, 2019, the River Road Affordable Housing was awarded Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and state Gap funds. The City Council awarded federal HOME funds and a Systems Development Charge exemption to the development in January 2019. St. Vincent de Paul proposed this project for the City-owned land bank site at 1505-1525 River Road, Construction is expected to begin in early 2020. The project is 53-units of housing targeted to households earning no more than 50% of the area median income (AMI) including 5 units targeted to households earning no more than 30% of AMI and 5 units targeted to survivors of domestic violence.
Complete the Consolidated Plan and Fair Housing Plan
Work is underway for the 2020 Eugene-Springfield Consolidated Plan and Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing (also known as the Fair Housing plan). The Consolidated Plan will cover the period from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2025. It will present an assessment of local housing, homelessness, and community development needs and establishes goals and priorities for use of HUD funds to address those needs. As part of the data collection, two surveys were administered, one for community members and one for providers, assessing local housing, homelessness, community development, and fair housing needs. The results of the surveys were analyzed by The Cloudburst Group, the plan consultants, and are being used to shape the draft housing and community development strategies in the Consolidated Plan. The Cloudburst Group has had multiple consultations with stakeholders and community providers to solicit feedback on community needs.
The Consolidated Plan Advisory Committee has been formed and includes three representatives from Eugene and three from Springfield: Councilor Chris Pryor, John Barofsky, Jennifer Webster, Councilor Marilee Woodrow, Gabrielle Guidero, and Betsy Schultz, respectively. The committee has met twice to discuss data related to the community profile. The committee’s final meeting will be a public hearing (not yet scheduled).
Eugene is hosting an Open House on February 12 from 4:00-6:30pm at Whirled Pies (199 W. 8th Avenue) for community members to provide feedback on the draft housing and community development strategies for the 2020 Consolidated Plan. Staff will take the draft strategies to City Council on February 24.
Additional information is available on the website, including a sign up button to join an interested parties list to be kept informed about the Consolidated Plan process.
Reduce delays for environmental reviews of affordable housing projects
In December, Community Development’s Housing Opportunity Team hired a limited duration position to focus on environmental reviews for Affordable housing and rehabilitation projects. This position will provide the capacity for a faster review process and for more reviews to take place.
Expand and improve program waiving SDCs for qualifying Affordable units
The Housing Opportunities Team and Public Works have been reviewing the existing system development charges (SDC) waiver program for Affordable units. Currently, the program has a maximum waiver amount per year, which does not cover local SDCs for one 50-unit development. Maintaining the current maximum SDC waiver value for qualifying affordable units could affect the number of affordable housing projects that have access to this financial assistance and the number of affordable housing units that would be produced. When a SDC is waived, it minimizes the overall quantity of dollars available for capital construction and preservation of citywide infrastructure. Raising the maximum SDC waiver value would reduce available funding to construct capital projects serving new development and maintaining existing infrastructure. Staff are researching and discussing the feasibility of adjusting the waiver amount while balancing housing and infrastructure needs.
Market District Commons groundbreaking
On July 17, 2019, Homes for Good held a groundbreaking ceremony for Market District Commons, the newest Affordable housing development in Eugene’s downtown core. This project is a partnership between Homes for Good, the City of Eugene, Lane County, and Obie Companies, representing a strong collaboration between public and private developers. Market District Commons will provide 50 units of supportive housing targeted to Lane County Veterans and Workforce. The location at 6th and Oak Street is ideal for both the residents and the surrounding community.
Short Term Rental Draft Code
The Working Group identified regulation of short-term rentals as a recommendation to protect the availability of rental properties in Eugene. In September, Council received an overview of short-term rental use in Eugene, and in December reviewed draft code language to apply regulation to short term rentals. The main takeaways from the December Work Session were:
To slow down the process to ensure that more impacted groups and persons can be heard.
To collect information to determine what the problems truly are.
To create an ad hoc committee including STR operators, neighbors, and other interested parties to develop recommendations for staff to take back to Council this spring.
To adopt any new regulations before City Council’s summer break in 2020.
Staff have selected 16 representatives for the STR Ad Hoc Committee, and the committee will meet three times throughout January and February. The first meeting was held on January 30. To hear from the Public, the Ad Hoc Committee will host an open house on February 11 from 6:15-7:45 in the Atrium lobby (99 W. 10th Avenue, Eugene). Additionally, a survey will be made available throughout February to gather additional public input.
More information about the Ad Hoc Committee and project history can be found on the project website.
Create a housing action plan/implementation strategy
Staff utilized the actions identified by the Working Group, Better Housing Together, and other technical research to create the Housing Tools and Strategies Action Inventory. This document is the first step towards implementing “a housing action plan” identified through the HTS process.
HTS logo on city webpages
If you’ve been noodling around on the City of Eugene website you will have noticed this icon on more pages. These little houses have been used throughout the HTS process and now serve to link initiatives to the goal of increasing housing affordability, availability, and diversity of type. These initiatives may be recommendations from the Working Group, existing projects or programs, or new approaches. By connecting programs, initiatives, plans, and projects we can begin to visually show the cumulative effect of these efforts. And, we can connect everything to the same narrative- that housing affordability, availability, and diversity of type is a wicked problem that crosses many departments and work groups; solutions take time, process change, and thoughtful balancing of values; and that all these items can contribute to the goals within HTS.
Community Input and Feedback Options:
- Email - HousingTools@eugene-or.gov Opens a New Window. is the project email available to send in questions and/or give feedback. This email goes to an inbox monitored by staff, not directly to Working Group members. If you would like to be added to the interested parties list for HTS project updates, email us at HousingTools@eugene-or.gov.