No, Senate Bill 458 does not speak to vertical divisions of middle housing and requires that each resultant lot or parcel contain exactly one unit. Therefore, cities are not required to allow vertical divisions of middle housing.
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House Bill 2001 (HB 2001) is a law passed by the Oregon Legislature in 2019 to increase housing choice and supply. The law requires large cities, including Eugene, to amend their land use regulations to allow more housing types like duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, cottage clusters, and townhouses in residential areas where single-family homes are allowed, by June 30, 2022. These housing types are often called “middle housing” because they are between a single-family house and an apartment building in terms on number of units. For more information about the requirements of HB 2001, visit the Requirements of HB 2001 fact sheet. For more information about what led to Oregon adopting the bill and middle housing types, visit the Project Overview fact sheet.
All residentially zoned areas within the city limits that currently allow single-family homes will be affected. In Eugene, this includes the following zones: R-1 Low Density Residential, R-2 Medium Density Residential, R-3 Limited High Density Residential, R-4 High Density Residential, and certain Special Area Zones (including Chambers, Chase Node, Downtown Westside, Elmira Road, Historic Blair, Jefferson Westside, Royal Node, Whiteaker, and Walnut Station special area zones). Land that is not zoned for residential use, including but not limited to commercial, industrial, agricultural and public land are not affected. In addition, land that is outside of the city limits (not annexed) is also not affected by HB 2001 (but will be, once inside the city limits).
Land within Eugene is divided into different areas called “zones.” These are intended to provide areas suitable for certain types of development or uses (examples include commercial, residential or industrial). Each zone provides a set of regulations governing the uses and development of a property within that zone, and includes such regulations as maximum building height or minimum building setbacks. To find out the zoning of a specific property in Eugene, use the City’s searchable zoning map. To learn more about what uses are allowed in a specific zone, you can check out Eugene’s land use code. While all middle housing types are currently allowed in Eugene, not all middle housing types are allowed in all residential areas and often times extra process steps are required to build it.
Yes. House Bill 2001 does not prohibit single-family homes or make it more difficult to build single-family homes where they are currently allowed, rather it allows middle housing types to be built in the same residential areas where single family homes are allowed.
While HB 2001 does prohibit the creation of new CC&Rs that conflict with HB 2001, it does not affect existing CC&Rs. To find out if a specific property has CC&Rs, contact the Homeowner’s Association (if applicable) or a title company or conduct a search through Lane County Deeds & Records. If you own property, the title report produced when you purchased your property should disclose any CC&Rs. If you are buying property, realtors are required to disclose existing CC&Rs before you purchase the property. The City of Eugene does not enforce CC&Rs or other such private agreements.
The Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission adopted rules that include three ways or choices for cities to comply with House Bill 2001: a model code, minimum compliance standards, and a performance metric approach. The model code is a set of ready-made land use regulations that cities can directly apply; the minimum standards are, at minimum, actions that cities must take to comply with the house bill; and the performance metric requires that middle housing be allowed on a certain percentage of lots around the city and within census tracts. The new rules were adopted on December 9, 2020 and contain some prescriptive requirements (such as parking standards) as well as areas where cities have flexibility in implementation. Project staff completed 10 months of public engagement as outlined in the project’s Public Involvement Plan, resulting in Guiding Values and Principles and recommendations that Eugene’s implementation of the house bill go beyond the minimum standards required by the state. The recommendations were to encourage lower-cost and Affordable Housing , provide flexibility, and reduce parking regulations near transit.
Middle Housing isn’t a new thing! These housing types were more prevalent before World War II, as can be seen in many historic districts and older neighborhoods. Locally, you can find older examples of middle housing in the Skinner Butte area, in and around downtown, and near the University of Oregon. However, allowing middle housing as contemplated by HB 2001 throughout postwar single-family neighborhoods is pretty new. In 2019, Minneapolis, Minnesota, was the first city to adopt a city-wide policy to allow middle housing, by right, in all residential zones. Then, following close behind, Oregon was the first state to pass such a bill. Other cities in Oregon, such as Bend adopted new land use regulations prior to the passage of HB 2001 to allow for middle housing types to be built in more areas.
Because this project will result in changes to Eugene’s land use regulations (which requires a legislative process), the Eugene City Council will be the decision-maker. Staff provided a recommendation on the changes to the Eugene Planning Commission, based on public engagement and consultant work to bring forward to a formal adoption process. The formal adoption process for any new or changed land use regulations included a public hearing before the Planning Commission, who then deliberated and made a formal recommendation to City Council. Then, on April 18, 2022 at 7:30pm City Council will hold a separate public hearing and additional meetings for deliberations and action.
A “roundtable” is a form of discussion. Participants agree on a specific topic to discuss and debate. Each person is given equal right to participate, as illustrated by the idea of a circular layout referred to in the term “roundtable.” The groups that participated in the roundtables were identified in the Public Involvement Plan. A initial list of groups was identified by staff and expanded based on Planning Commission and City Council feedback, and subsequently approved by the Planning Commission when they approved the final plan. The roundtables did not have decision-making authority, rather their role was to be advisory to staff. For the Boards and Commissions roundtable, staff invited six official city boards and commissions to provide representatives. For the Local Partners Roundtable, staff invited local organizations or groups including participants in the Housing Tools and Strategies process, neighborhood leaders, builders and developers, environmental advocates, realtors, and housing advocates to provide representatives. Lastly, for the Equity Roundtable, staff invited groups or organizations doing equity-based work serving underrepresented community members to provide representatives.
In support of inclusive public engagement, staff collaborated with the Portland-based group Healthy Democracy. Healthy Democracy is a nonpartisan nonprofit that designs and coordinates innovative deliberative democracy programs. Their purpose is to involve community members who are representative of the community and compensate them for their time engaging in public policy issues. The creation of an advisory group designed to reflect the broad needs and interests of the community provides perspectives that otherwise would not be included in project implementation. Letters were mailed to 7,500 random Eugene households in October 2020 to solicit a broadly diverse panel across seven demographic categories. Several of the demographic categories, include race and ethnicity, were based on the makeup of the school aged population in the 4-J and Bethel school districts, in an effort to reflect the greater diversity of our future generations. The panelists were selected in early November 2020 via a live selection event and shortly thereafter began meeting and hearing background information from experts in land use, planning, housing, and more. The panel is kind of like “Eugene in a room.” The panelists met a total of 15 times through spring 2021 and provided a truly democratic lens to the project. The panel did not have decision-making authority, rather their role was to be advisory to staff. All large-group sessions were broadcast live and can be watched on the Healthy Democracy YouTube channel. For more information, see the Eugene Healthy Democracy Panel’s webpage.
We want to hear from everyone! There are ongoing opportunities for the public to learn more about the project and provide input. The best places to start are the project website. For project updates, opportunities to engage, and to receive formal mailed notice, sign up for the project’s Interested Parties Email List. Additionally, community members can provide testimony by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information or to provide input, community members are encouraged to contact project staff
The Public Involvement Plan for this project has an intentional focus on equity and inclusion. These areas of focus mean we added new ways for community members to engage, in addition to the variety of existing methods we have in our public engagement toolkit. Planning projects affect the entire community; however, traditional engagement efforts face challenges in reaching certain parts of the community. This structure has created disproportionate representation in the planning process and has resulted in exclusion of some people and groups who are directly impacted by plans and policies. As summarized by Oregon Land Conservation and Development (LCDC) Commissioner Anyeley Hallova during a rulemaking meeting on the House Bill, “before racial segregation through zoning, some neighborhoods had more diverse housing types with mixed incomes that are part of our beloved neighborhood fabric. As intentional as racially segregating housing policy was, we need to be as equally intentional about providing equitable housing outcomes for all.” Across the country, we have a difficult history of exclusion to grapple with, and our intent with this project is to acknowledge that history, and move forward with a focus on inclusion for all, including renters, low income people, people with disabilities, young people, seniors, and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. For more information, you can review the History of Residential Zoning fact sheet and visit the project webpage.
As noted above, the House Bill was passed in 2019 by the Oregon Legislature and is now Oregon law. Changes to the language of HB 2001 can only be made by the Oregon Legislature. The City of Eugene must comply with HB 2001 and the newly adopted rules by June 30, 2022, or the state model code will apply directly. However, we recognize that people will have questions and concerns about implementation. As staff, we want to hear what you think – please reach out. We can help explain what things the City has control and choice over during implementation, and what things are predetermined by the house bill and new rules. See the fact sheets on the project webpage as well as the Guide to the Planning Commission Recommendation for more information on the scope and requirements of the bill and how Eugene is proposing to implement the bill. Additionally, community members can provide testimony by email to email@example.com.
There is a difference between true “Affordable Housing” and “naturally occurring affordable housing.” Affordable Housing is housing that is directly subsidized by an organization or the government. This housing usually has waitlists and serves people with specific income ranges and housing needs. Naturally occurring affordable housing is market-rate housing that is usually older, smaller, or both. Newly constructed middle housing is anticipated to be sold or rented at market rate, and it will have a wide range of prices. New housing, however, tends to have a higher price tag than older housing, simply because it’s new. A new house that is very similar to a house 30 years old is likely to command a higher price, because of that lack of wear and tear. The newer house will have a higher up-front cost but will have lower maintenance costs. Middle housing can be ‘affordable by design.’ Middle housing tends to be relatively small, which leads to lower operating and long-term maintenance costs. A 1,500 square foot house is likely to cost its occupants much less than a 2,500 square foot house. There’s less square footage to heat, a smaller roof to maintain, less exterior space to paint. The cost of housing includes maintenance costs, not just the upfront price. As part of implementation of House Bill 2001, the City will be required to consider ways to increase the affordability of middle housing. We know that housing affordability is an issue of importance for our community, as has been reiterated during the public engagement for this project. The Planning Commission’s recommended code amendments include incentives for lower-cost and Affordable Housing. For more information about the proposed Land Use Code incentives, visit the Guide to the Planning Commission Recommendation. Incentives beyond the scope of the project and the Land Use Code, including an Anti-Displacement Plan, will be pursued through the Housing Implementation Pipeline process
Some people worry that new market-rate apartment buildings in gentrifying neighborhoods raise nearby rents and accelerate gentrification. The concern is that new buildings could change nearby amenities or neighborhood reputation, increasing demand for the neighborhood enough to offset the effect of increasing supply. Research by economists at the Upjohn Institute have shown that new market-rate apartment buildings in low-income areas do not accelerate gentrification. 3 Instead, they slow rent increases in nearby apartments. This implies that new developments serve mainly to absorb existing demand for an area rather than to generate new demand. In turn, this reduces pressures on nearby rents because many high-income households move to the new building rather than outbidding lower-income households for nearby apartments. New developments are associated with gentrification, but they follow it rather than precede it.
tate law does not allow jurisdictions to require all new middle housing to be affordable at a specific income level. Imposing affordability requirements on private development (known as “inclusionary zoning”) is allowed by Oregon law only for development with at least 20 units per building, and only if certain incentives are offered in exchange. This would also be prohibited by House Bill 2001 because it would almost certainly constitute an unreasonable cost that is not applied to single-family housing. The City could make density bonuses, lower parking ratios, or other code incentives that go beyond minimum compliance available only for development that meets certain affordability criteria but must allow middle housing subject to standards consistent with HB2001 regardless of pricing. New middle housing is likely to be affordable to a broader range of households than new single-family detached homes; however, it is very difficult to deliver new housing (of any form) that is affordable to the City’s lowest income residents without public subsidy. Even if it were legal, requiring middle housing to offer below-market rents or sales prices without providing public subsidy or incentives would likely make it impossible for the private market to develop. It would also mean that middle housing would face even greater obstacles compared to single family development. Nearly all for-profit developers would likely continue to build single family homes. Some non-profit or affordable housing builders would be able to build middle housing, but it would rarely be delivered by the private market.
Yes, the City has discussed and is considering several options for encouraging or incentivizing development of middle housing that would be affordable to a wider range of residents. These include:
Implementation of the proposed middle housing code updates will enhance housing equity and affordability in the long-term in a variety of ways.
In general, imposing more regulation on the development and design of any form of housing tends to increase the cost of producing and providing that housing. While it is important to continue to regulate certain aspects of housing development in a reasonable, fair and consistent manner, too much regulation can constrain housing production in ways that drive up housing costs overall. However, if calibrated carefully to the local housing market so that new development remains viable, regulations that limit the size of new homes (including single-family detached homes as well as middle housing) can help prevent very large homes that are more likely to be expensive from “out-competing” smaller and lower-cost housing options.
The City can continue to work with non-profit and market rate developers of all forms of housing that are affordable to people with low incomes. This includes continuing to implement a variety of strategies including: use of publicly owned land, reduction of system development charges or other fees, implementation of property tax abatement programs, provision of technical assistance by City staff, use of state and federal funds for subsidies, and others.
Senate Bill 458 was adopted by the Oregon Legislature in 2021. The bill allows lot divisions for middle housing that enable them to be sold or owned individually. Essentially, Senate Bill 458 allows for lot divisions of a “parent lot” solely for ownership opportunities of middle housing units. For example, if a side by side duplex used the lot division, you could purchase one side of the duplex and the land around it.
The bill is a follow-up to House Bill 2001 - the bill that legalizes middle housing in many cities throughout the state. Senate Bill 458 requires jurisdictions to allow middle housing lot divisions for any HB 2001 middle housing type (duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, townhouses, and cottage clusters) built in accordance with ORS 197.758.
SB 458 requires a middle housing lot division application submit: “A proposal for development of middle housing in compliance with the Oregon residential specialty code and land use regulations applicable to the original lot or parcel allowed under ORS 197.758 (5)”. This means that any lot division proposal will need to demonstrate compliance with both applicable building code and HB 2001 middle housing code in order to be eligible for a lot division under SB 458. While middle housing built after implementation will meet these criteria, middle housing built prior to implementation may not be eligible.
The Senate Bill lot division would work the same with detached middle housing as it would for attached middle housing. So long as the “parent lot” met the Middle Housing criteria (including frontage, lot size, lot coverage, etc), then the lot could be divided for ownership opportunities.
A Partition is a type of land use process that creates new legal lots. Those new legal lots would be granted full development rights. The Senate Bill 458 lot division allows the creation of new lots within a legal “parent lot” solely for the purpose of ownership opportunities. The new lots created from Senate Bill 458 are not granted additional development rights and must be maintained to meet the criteria applicable to the “parent lot”.
No, the Senate Bill 458 lot division does not grant additional development rights to the middle housing lot. Even if you owned a unit of middle housing on its own lot, it would still be considered middle housing—not as a new single detached unit.
You could add additions if the development would still meet criteria applied to the “parent lot”. This includes criteria such as height, lot coverage, and open space requirements.