Housing Tools and Strategies
Below is a detailed visual from August 2020 providing a broad overview of project milestones and anticipated timelines.
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).
Middle Housing Code Amendments (Implementation of HB 2001)
The Oregon State Legislature passed House Bill 2001 in June 2019, a law that is intended to provide more opportunities for a variety of housing types in traditionally single detached neighborhoods, and to increase the overall housing supply in and around cities. The new law requires that, no later than June 30, 2022, the City of Eugene must amend its land use regulations to allow the following.
- A duplex on each lot or parcel, that is located within city limits, that is zoned for residential use, and on which the City’s land use regulations allows the construction of a single detached dwelling.
- Triplexes, quadplexes, cottage clusters, and townhouses in residential zones within the City that allow single detached dwellings.
The City has received a $150,000 grant from the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) to implement the law. The grant will fund code writing and public outreach. More information is available on the Middle Housing website.
The implementation of HB 2001 aligns with and leverages many of the Working Group’s planning and land use recommendations shared in the July 2019 HTS update such as:
Completing Comprehensive Plan chapter on housing;
The ADU remand; and,
River Road Santa Clara neighborhood plan/corridor study
In summer 2020, the Planning Commission approved the project’s Public Involvement Plan. Since then the project has launched its Engage Eugene page and has begun planning to hold a variety of meetings including Local Partners and Boards and Commissions Roundtables, an Equity Roundtable, and a series of Healthy Democracy Planning Review Panels.
At the state level, the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) is still working to finalize the Model Code and Minimum Standards for compliance with the House Bill. Both will be finalized by December 2020. While we wait for state guidance, the first phase of the project will focus on establishing Guiding Values and Principles then, in early 2021, outreach will focus on draft code concepts. For more information on the project, visit the project webpage and Engage Eugene page.
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 winter of 2019/2020
Design and code concepts will be prepared and vetted in 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Improve the Clear and Objective standards
In May 2019, 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.
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 summer 2019, Planning staff worked with Lane Council of Governments (LCOG) to develop a technical methodology to digitize the Metro Plan diagram for City staff review. Staff also hired a temporary employee to assist in clarifying land use plan designations boundaries and improving 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. Staff has focused this research on the River Road-Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan area to develop a parcel-specific map that will be part of the plan’s adoption package. This effort will also help to inform a citywide approach for completing and adopting a parcel-specific map.
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 River Road-Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan is still in the Action Planning phase, which includes refining and prioritizing strategies to turn the neighborhood vision into a reality. The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) for the River Road-Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan met on June 16, 2020 via Zoom to discuss next steps for the Action Plan, which includes developing a strategy for ongoing plan implementation.
The project website has updated Topic Area pages with the latest draft vision statements, goals, policies, and actions with links to provide feedback or ask questions. Two outreach reports from Fall 2019 and Winter 2020 summarize community input on the initial draft actions and River Road Corridor Study draft preferred zoning concept. This input is informing the CAC and project staff as they refine actions and begin to develop the components to be included in the neighborhood plan adoption package. There is also a River Road Corridor Study web map to explore the draft preferred zoning concept in more detail. More detailed draft code language is being developed , and the project team is working to understand how state rulemaking for HB2001 may impact the code.
Accessory Dwelling Units
On January 21, 2020, 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 slopes 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
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.
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.
Parks System Development Charges Methodology
Eugene City Council approved the proposed Parks Methodology on July 13, 2020. The newly adopted Parks Methodology will become effective on January 1, 2022. The 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.
As part of the approval, Eugene City Council also approved a reduction in the SDC Administrative fee from 9% to 5%. This reduction in the Administrative fee will become effective on August 13, 2020.
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.
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) advises City staff on the allocation of Affordable Housing Trust Fund resources. The Trust Fund comprises an initial $500,000 from the City’s General Fund and revenue generated from the Construction Excise Tax. The AHTF-AC met four times in June and July and identified their priority as the creation of affordable housing. Two members of the committee accompanied staff to the July 27 Council work session. At that work session, Council passed a motion that directed the City Manager to allocate $300,000 of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund resources for the creation of affordable housing, as recommended by the AHTF-AC (the development allocation), and $500,000 for direct assistance to renters and homeowners that is to be released immediately through existing channels. The AHTF-AC met in September and October to discuss the Request for Proposals process and RFP criteria. The AHTF-AC will continue to discuss RFP criteria and the draft RFP in November and December, with a scheduled release of early 2021. Developers would have approximately 60 days to submit proposals. An evaluation committee will score the proposals in the Spring and provide scores to City Council to make the final decision for funding.
For more information, visit the website.
Affordable Housing Trust Fund – Direct Assistance and Development Allocation
At the July 27 Council work session, Council passed a motion that directed $500,00 for direct assistance to renters and homeowners. DevNW received $150,000 to provide homeowners with direct mortgage assistance to prevent foreclosure. Direct rent assistance in the amount of $350,000 is in the process of being allocated through Lane County. Currently, Lane County is working with several agencies to spend down CVVRP (COVID-19 Rent Relief Program) and CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) rent assistance which must be spent by December 30, 2020. Lane County plans to disburse the AHTF rent assistance as soon as the CVVRP and CARES Act funds are expended.
Housing Policy Board (HPB) Renter Protections Committee
The Renters Protections Committee is a subcommittee of the Housing Policy Board. They identified key priority ideas to be renter and landlord education and rent and deposit assistance and presented their recommendations to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund Advisory Committee in December 2019. A portion of CDBG-CV funds are supporting a tenant hotline, which is a direct result of the Renters Protections Committee work. The work of the Renters Protections Committee has paused. More information is available on the website.
Governor Kate Brown on Sept. 28, 2020 established a new moratorium preventing residential evictions for non-payment and other no-cause evictions between September 30 and December 31, 2020. In the first special session of this year, the Legislature passed House Bill 4213, establishing a residential and commercial eviction moratorium through September 30, 2020, with a six-month repayment period. The Governor’s new executive order will help keep Oregonians in their homes until the Legislature can convene next year to address housing issues. Information on Housing Support related to coronavirus is available on the website.
Community Development Block Grant – Coronavirus Funds
The federal CARES Act included a special allocation of CDBG funding to help local communities respond to the impacts of coronavirus. This CDBG-CV funding is a separate grant from the entitlement CDBG grants received on an annual basis from HUD. The City of Eugene received a CDBG-CV entitlement allocation of $839,940. The CDBG Advisory Committee reconvened in June and approved a draft allocation recommendation for identified uses. Identified uses include providing housing assistance, expanding homeless services, and fair housing as well as providing micro-enterprise training. On July 27, staff presented that recommendation to Council and it was approved. Staff have completed the Substantial Amendment to the 2020 Action Plan and are in the process of negotiating and executing related contracts.
The City was recently notified that we will receive another entitlement allocation from the federal CARES Act called CDBG-CV3 in the amount of $1,016,237. In order to utilize these funds, Eugene must complete another allocation process to identify uses of funds and submit a second Substantial Amendment to our 2020 Action Plan. The CDBG Advisory Committee will be reconvened, and staff will present a draft allocation recommendation to Council. Visit the website for more information.
Expand Eugene’s land banking program (mixed-income housing):
The City acquired 1059 Willamette in April 2020, using CDBG funds. The use of CDBG funds requires that at least 51% of the units are affordable to households at 80% of the Area Median Income.
The planned development is mixed-income housing, where 51% of the units meet the CDBG income requirements and the remaining 49% are available at any rent. For such a project to be financially feasible, some public funds will be required to fill a funding gap. City Council held a Public Hearing about potential funding sources for the project on September 21. On September 30, City Council voted to move forward with a Request for Proposals (RFP) process to identify a developer for the proposed project. Council and the Urban Renewal Agency Board also voted to make available in the RFP $400,000 from the Multi-Unit Property Tax Exemption (MUPTE) moderate income housing fee and $700,000 of Downtown Urban Renewal funds to financially support the project.
The City plans to release the RFP in November 2020. Developers will have approximately 60 days to respond to the RFP. An Evaluation Committee will score and rank submitted proposals. Staff will ask the public for feedback, and City Council will decide which proposal to select to develop the site. The City anticipates selecting a developer by March 2021. Visit the website for more information.
Expand the land banking program for Affordable housing:
The City-owned property on River Road acquired through the Land Acquisition for Affordable Housing program was transferred to St. Vincent de Paul in July. Construction of the 53-unit development began in August 2020. The one, two- and three-bedroom apartments will be targeted to households earning no more than 50% of the Area Median Income. The development is anticipated to complete construction in November 2021.
Complete the Consolidated Plan and Fair Housing Plan
The Eugene-Springfield 2020 Consolidated Plan, Fair Housing Plan, and One-Year Action Plan were approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on June 16,2020.
The Consolidated Plan and Fair Housing Plan will guide the work of HUD-funded affordable housing and community development for the next five years. The One-Year Action Plan allocates the use of federal funds in fiscal year 2021, including $1,279,893 in HOME Investment Partnerships funds and $1,427,820 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. For more information on the 2020 Consolidated Plan, visit the project website. For more information about the One-Year Action Plan, visit the website.
Next, staff will complete and submit a Substantial Amendment to our 2020 Action Plan. Visit the website for more information.
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
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. The first residents are moving in fall 2020.
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. For more information about the project history see 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.