Housing Tools and Strategies
Below is a detailed visual from August 2020 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).
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 can fund code writing and public outreach. More information is available on the Middle Housing Code Changes 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
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 winter of 2019/2020
Design and code concepts will be prepared and vetted in late 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.
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 fall intern who assisted 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 16th 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 new 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 new River Road Corridor Study web map to explore the draft preferred zoning concept in more detail. More detailed draft code language is being developed this summer, 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
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.
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 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 Advisory Committee met four times in June and July 2020 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 Advisory Committee, and $500,000 for direct assistance to renters and homeowners that is to be released immediately through existing channels. The next committee meeting is scheduled for September 15, when the committee will begin discussing the Request for Proposals process. For more information, visit the website.
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. The Renters Protections Committee has paused its work and has the goal of making recommendations by the end of the year. More information is available on the website.
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. The site is eligible for funds from the City’s Downtown Urban Renewal District, and staff have been working to identify the appropriate financial support that can make a mixed-income housing development feasible. Using those Urban Renewal funds requires a Public Hearing, so that the public can provide input on the use of the funds for the project. City Council discussed the project at their July 15, 2020 work session and authorized staff to schedule a Public Hearing, now set for September 21. A Council work session is scheduled for September 30, so that Council can consider taking action on offering Urban Renewal funding assistance for the project. At this time, it is not known how much financial support from Urban Renewal will be available.
If approved, the City will offer the property to prospective developers through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process. An Evaluation Committee will score and rank submitted proposals, staff will ask the public for feedback, and City Council will decide which proposal to move forward with. City staff are working to issue the RFP this fall and select 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 begins 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.
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.
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.
In addition, the federal CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security 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 will receive 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 27th, staff presented that recommendation to Council and it was approved.
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 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 2019 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.
More information about the Ad Hoc Committee, next steps and 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.