Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Friday, October 10, 2014

PC hearing on mixed use codes Monday

Clear and Objective Housing Standards

The multifamily housing codes (Clear and Objective Housing Standards) are designed to remove barriers for builders wanting to build mixed-use developments like the Wizer Block that include residential units as one of the uses.

It makes sense that builders need to have clear and fairly applied codes that they can use with confidence that their projects will be approved.  The state law requires housing codes be written to provide clear and objective standards for this purpose.  If a builder can meet the objective standards, the project is approved by the planning department with no further review by the Development Review Commission or notice and appeal by citizens to City Council or LUBA.  Therein lies the problem.

If the C and O Standards are very liberal, then there will be mixed use or all residential (condo or apartment) projects built that may be objectionable to residents for any number of reasons - too big, blocks sunlight to neighboring homes, lack of adequate parking, traffic concerns, poor design, too dense, etc.  There would be NO opportunity for citizens to complain, have input, or be notified of the project in the first place.  ALL DECISIONS WOULD BE IN THE HANDS OF THE PLANNING DEPARTMENT.  Experience has told us that trusting the planning department to listen to what citizens want for their city doesn't work.  We need to build protections into the codes for the livability of our town - the vultures are circling.

There is a good compromise that would follow state law AND preserve opportunity for citizens to be informed and involved in the review of more complex and impactful developments.  Clear and Objective Housing Standards can be written to a minimal level, and larger developments would go through a DISCRETIONARY review process as they do now.  See The post, "Let's be clear about codes" for ideas that work.

If you think projects like the Wizer Block should be approved with only planning department approval and with NO review by the DRC or citizen appeal, then you have nothing to worry about.  If you think the planning department should have oversight by the DRC and citizens should have some say in larger developments - MONDAY is your opportunity to tell the Planning Commission how you feel.  When the hearings move on to the City Council your testimony will need to be repeated.

Write your comments and send them to the Planning Department before 3:00 PM on Monday, and/or testify in person on Monday night.  


Continued Public Hearing for 
Clear and Objective Housing Standards 
Monday, October 13, 6:30 PM

Click here (LU 14-0019) to read the 
Staff Report and draft codes.

Project Description

A request by the City of Lake Oswego for amendments to the Community Development Code (CDC).  Proposed amendments are related to Clear and Objective Housing Standards and are being proposed to bring the Code into compliance with State requirements intended to reduce unnecessary costs and delays in permitting needed housing.
Please refer to notice for additional information.


In response to public testimony the Planning Commission will consider additional information at the continued hearing on Monday, October 13.  Public testimony will be accepted at the hearing.  Please see the notice (09/30/14), below, for additional information on how to comment.

 If you have any questions, please contact the staff coordinator, Sarah Selden, Associate Planner at (503) 697-6524.

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