Historically Eugene used the term Refinement Plan to describe plans that took the city-wide policies of the Comprehensive Plan and tailored them to a neighborhood. They were adopted as refinements to the Comprehensive Plan (at that time, known as the Metro Plan). However, in the mid-1990s Oregon land use law was revised, creating a legal definition for the term Refinement Plan.
Because aspects of the state definition of a Refinement Plan do not always align with community expectations, the Planning Division has moved away from referring to locally adopted plans as Refinement Plans. We are using the terms area plan and neighborhood plan because they avoid confusion with refinement plans under the state statute.
A neighborhood plan involves broad, comprehensive planning for one or more neighborhoods. The process is guided by a project charter that outlines the decision making structure. The plan -- including vision, goals and policies, an action plan, and potential land use code provisions resulting from the process -- is adopted by the City Council and County Board of Commissioners (when the County is involved), an important attribute for community members who want to make sure that the plan has legal standing and guides future decision making. By moving away from the term Refinement Plan, the planning division is hoping we can focus on the River Road and Santa Clara neighborhoods' desired outcomes, without risking confusion with state defined terminology.